Martyr Defiled - 'Young Gods'
When one thinks of Lincoln in the East Midlands, one doesn't immediately think of tank production, but nevertheless it is a fact that in the midst of the carnage that was World War One, a company named William Foster & Co in Lincoln invented, designed and then constructed a prototype tank for the British Army. These lumbering hunks of metal were very different from what we have become used to today, but it is interesting to note that this part of the UK had already become somewhat accustomed to gargantuan heaviness many decades before the chaps in Martyr Defiled were even a glint in their parent's eyes. Thankfully though, for those of us who like our music as savage as a picnic with a herd of honey badgers, the members of Martyr Defiled won big time in the lottery of human reproduction and as if to celebrate, have dredged up Lucifer himself from the seventh circle of hell on album number three, Young Gods.
The three years since Martyr Defiled dropped No Hope No Morality on an unsuspecting metal community seem to have dragged by. What No Hope.. managed to do so effectively was, whilst of course remaining as heavy as having the BFG's toolbox dropped on your head, incorporate a level of technicality and genuine hooks into a sound chock full of beatdowns, groove and in places even a slam metal rhythmic attack. For those who were impressed last time out, Young Gods has managed to recapture that magic once more and, quite remarkably given Martyr Defiled's previous offerings, they have managed to become an even heavier proposition in the process.
Young Gods commences with the one-two hook-laden gut punch of Sins Of The Father and Bury Your Corpses Deep; a couple of tracks that provide a solid indication of the overall feel of the record - ferocious, undeniably catchy and, at points, just utterly evil-sounding. One could most likely pinpoint the source of this maleficent aesthetic that is sprayed across 'Young Gods' as being the album's concept, which centres around an old man being accused of being a witch who, with his last gasps on Earth during his live burial, summons "dark gods" to curse his killers. Thereafter he, to quote the band's own statement: 'reincarnates as a young god in possession of his soul, who then proceeds to cast a shadow over the world to match the darkness in which the old man died'. So, an episode of Tracy Beaker this ain't. In order to heighten this oppressive atmosphere, Martyr Defiled have incorporated all sorts of interesting sounds into their songwriting: from the occasional 'cloud of hornets' guitar style to various squeaks and bleeps, a sample of a shotgun cocking and firing to instigate a particularly tasty beatdown and the gunshot accents on the snare in the last 30 seconds of Sow, And You Shall Reap. The effect of this is striking: not only do Martyr Defiled easily dodge those common pitfalls of cheesiness or even over-egging the pudding, but these additions demonstrate a band confident in the delivery of the art that they are creating.
We've mentioned before here at Room Thirteen how Matthew Jones is one of the best front-people in British heavy metal; a tornado of energy, with a voice that sounds as though, forget about moshing, observers should be dialling for an exorcist. Well, on Young Gods/i>, Matthew is front and centre sounding utterly inhuman with gutturals that will have you reaching for the Lozenges out of sheer sympathy. There are some excellent vocal textures and interplay on show here too, with some spite-filled spoken word on Kneel, which itself also features a brilliant cameo by Malevolence's Konan. As ever, the musicianship on display is also fantastic. The riffing is tight and at times, intricate, and the rhythm section demonstrate a keen dedication to groove and bounce which is highly commendable, as evidenced on Their Souls Are Mine and the exceptionally catchy Sow, And You Shall Reap. Of course, given that this is ostensibly a deathcore record, there are the necessary beatdowns, but these too are inventive and well-deployed.
All in all, there is a huge amount to enjoy here on Young Gods, an album that, whilst doubtless in possession of the deathcore tag, still manages to sound fresh, relentlessly exciting and ball-crushingly heavy throughout. Another great British band doing the business then.