MARTYR_You Are NextHeavy/power/thrash can be used to describe a multitude of bands and their disciplines, it’s always a very general description for me this one. This Dutch band released their first demo back in 1982 with its great title “If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old”, with their ’85 EP ‘For the Universe’ becoming a sought after underground classic. Their 2011 ‘Circle of 8’ album may have been met with mixed emotions, but if you were let down by that one, I really implore you to check out their latest offering ‘You Are Next’, as its leaps and bounds above the quality of the previous offering.

Although no strangers to these shores (Tour support to Lizzy Borden and they also featured at the Power & Glory Festival last year in Hatfield, amongst other shows), Martyr are a hardworking and underrated band. The new material has a real buzz about it and is far more momentous in the power thrash field and on par with Metal Church (Munroe era), Anthrax for vocal melodies (w/Belladonna) and musically in touch with Sanctuary if ‘Infinity’ and ‘Unborn Evil’ are anything to go by.

Vocally, Rop Van Haren is on top form, the range is fantastic a stark improvement from my memory based on their previous releases and previous live outings, quality springs to mind, the depth and personal character is quite redeeming. The guitar work too is ripping, thoughtful and relentless in places (especially on the slow starting ‘Mother’s Tear’) and the thing I like about this album is that each time you give it a spin, you get a more in depth relationship, not necessarily finding something different, their experience is really shining through here with a fantastic hybrid of the power, heavy and thrash sub genres.

‘You Are Next’ should be next on your purchase list, it’s a clear statement of intent, this band really have paid their dues and truly have released an album far beyond their known history, and they even have their own brand of alcoholic refreshment too! It’s a great record, pure and simple.

(8/10 Paul Maddison)