Martyr De Mona

Impera - Martyr de Mona

‘Impera’ – Album Review.

Midlands’s metallers Martyr De Mona stand on the brink, with an album release due 31st March 2014 their first single from the Romesh Dodangoda-produced album ‘Impera’, (his previous credits include Motorhead and Funeral for a Friend tomes) will be Influence and Persuasion.

Having signed with In At The Eye Records in December 2012, their hard work since is evident in this track. Tight and anthemic, there is a drive in the progress this four-piece have made since 2012’s ‘Protect What’s Yours’ from their self titled album. Whereas the latter showed a band striving to be noticed, the more recent incarnation is self assured and the band are confident in their own sound.

Louis, Ant, Josh and Ashley grew up on a diet of classic British rock, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and latterly Tool, feature strongly in their influence list. While their influence in getting MDM’s members involved in music is undeniable, it is modern metal grunge that powers their current sound.

Impera is forty three minutes of pure, unadulterated modern metal. The ease that the album assails the eardrums is only assisted by the flow of the music. Sometimes, I find myself unconsciously rearranging an album to make the flow of the tracks work more easily; you just cannot do that with ‘Impera’ as each track flows rhythmically into the next. For a new listener to the band the ‘in’ to their sound is effortless.

‘Siege Mentality’, the album’s opening track, is the most at odds with the rest of the album. The orchestral start of the track could be an Ibiza chill out intro but the driving guitar and pounding drums are soon back to excellent effect. It sets the tone for the remainder of the experience.

‘Influence and Persuasion’, the first single effectively from the album is a less pounding, more three minute release track. It is a fantastically commercial sounding piece of music; it is the defining point of the new, the confident sound. As soon as the first bars kick in, it’s driving almost visceral sound, announces the confidence that the band have found.

‘Reprisal’ drops the tone slightly as a slower tempo introduction initially throws the senses, but the chest pumping drums reintroduces the familiar sound. Louis’ vocals are really quite distinctive, a mixture of Creed and Stonesour – his tone and the delivery of this vocal washes over you.

Track four is the inquisitive ‘Sentient’, the soft sound is welcome and again is a more commercial sound, one of my favourite tracks on the album; I found myself hypnotised by Ash’s drums on this track. There is a haunting quality to the introduction which develops beautifully into musical bliss.

‘Impera’ is back to the staple, hard guitars and metal vocals – an anthem that is fantastically driven and the album’s most aggressive sounding track.

‘Nothing Sacred’ evokes the image of a pulsing crowd, raging and throbbing against the front barriers of a venue. Although I feel this is possibly the weakest track on the album, this by no means suggests it’s poor, as the standard that MDM have set for their second release is high!

‘Gravity Breaks’ puts me in mind of an Incubus track, reminiscent of their Morning View era with haunting vocals descending into resurgent chorus, The tale behind the song seems to be one of heartbreak and its message is delivered well, and delivered with an emotion that makes it a compelling track.

‘Kyo’ pulls you in; assaulting, raw tones define the track. My personal favourite moment is the bass line produced by Joshua ‘JJ’ Wooldridge, deep and confrontational in its tone, it really defines the tracks attitude.

I found ‘Suffer Unto Me’ to unite ‘Kyo’ and the final track ‘Hollow Shore’ together, as the pleadingly dramatic vocals, Ant Rickett and Louis Hale’s driving guttural guitar work and the pounding drums are a perfect bridge.

The final track arrives all too easily, ‘Hollow Shore’ – the main anthem on the album. Six minutes of well timed, developing metal and the perfect denouement to the experience. It is not often I will finish an album and simply ‘flip’ it back to Track 1, but that is what MDM achieve with this track; it makes you want to digest it again. This album has already pushed its way into my regular music rotation.

Steve Gerrard Photography

The band are clearly travelling in the right direction – with a major UK tour hitting Manchester, Cardiff and London and a promo video created by Video INK!, the future is looking bright for the West Midlands latest export. Having played support for Black Sabbath and Avenged Sevenfold it is MDM’s turn to shine in April when they celebrate the worldwide release of Impera with a headline show at Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall – they might be heading back home but they’re set for great things in 2014.

Review by Matt Turnock

Left For Red

Left For Red - Vol 002 Mercy Flight

‘Vol 2 – Mercy Flight’ EP Review.

I have heard of these guys out and about on the live circuit and seem to remember catching them live a couple of years ago so, when I was asked to do a review of their current E.P. I was interested to hear how it would sound. So….here goes.

Track one, ‘Kneel before you die’. This track instantly gets you moving with its rolling rhythmic feel and huge riffs. These are reminiscent of the ever popular stoner movement. The calling of the jungle drum intro makes you want to get in the pit straight away, with vocals that make me think of Morrisey, giving it a very English and punky vibe.

Track two, ‘The Obsession’, is the slow burner of the E.P. and makes me think of Alice In Chains (which is a good thing). This is a definite ‘less is more’ song which relies more on the vocal melody than the music and when the vocalist introduces some screaming into the mix, it makes the track even more powerful.

Track three, ‘Mercy Flight’, has the most energy to it and is a strong way to end the E.P. With it’s (Machine Head) Supercharger sounding intro, and rolling tom orientated drum beat, the song has a really catchy chorus with vocal harmonies which is a great dynamic to have as a band. If this doesn’t get you out of your seat then you must be one lazy bastard.

Left For Red

For me, this sounds like a band who wear their influences on their sleeves but without sounding like rip-off merchants, hints of 90’s Nu-Metal, Grunge and even Stoner Rock seep through these three tracks without one particular genre taking the lead. The production is clear and punchy giving the tracks a really solid sound. You could argue that the vocals are a little higher in the mix than necessary which is a shame as, for me, they are not the strongest element of the band, not terrible, just doesn’t float my boat. You can tell that ‘The Riff’ is important to these West Midland bruisers and that gets a big thumbs up in my book straight from the get go.

Review by The Purple Piper

Lord Of The Riffs

Monster Truck/ Scorpion Child and Buffalo Summer.
Rock City Nottingham 25th March 2014.

Getting to the venue was a right pig tonight, traffic was so bad. I’d scheduled an interview with Texan’s Scorpion Child, but as I was running late, thought I’d let them know. I called the number I was given as my contact for the band, not knowing who I was speaking to, I politely asked who it was on the other end of the phone, to which I was given the name Ben.

Once I’d arrived, I called tour manager Ben again, who came to collect me from the foyer. Walking towards me was a rather tall geezer, who, at first I didn’t recognise, but once he got up close, crushed my hand in a gentleman’s hand shake, I noticed it was non other that Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward……Well, this is a band I admire greatly, so to meet the lead singer, in the flesh, was a real treat. Ben kindly took me to where both Shaun and Christopher were sat, so I could conduct my interview. More on that in a bit.

After my interview, I loitered around the Basement Bar, where I waiting for the first of three bands on tonight’s bill Buffalo Summer, the other two being Scorpion Child and Monster Truck. As I loitered, I got to speak with Scorpion Child’s lead vocalist Aryn, who wasn’t present in our interview, so that was nice. I also noticed the hordes of music fans coming through the doors, which was re-assuring and great to see, for saying it was a Tuesday. Tonight’s gig was presented by non other than Metal Hammer and was given the title “Lords of the Riff” which is a title that excited me greatly, giving me the illusion of smoking hot guitar strings and fast, hard hitting rock and roll, all for the reasonable price of a tenner, bargain!

Buffalo Summer first then, these guys hail from Swansea, so you could class them as the “local boys” tonight. Their sound is classed as feel good rock and roll and they gave us just that. Their appearance is that from the 70’s, however, they’re a relatively young band, formed in 2010. In that time they have managed to play Download Festival, toured with Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe and Heavens Basement, to name but a few.

Darren King - Buffalo Summer

This was my first encounter with these guys, but having seen the other two bands before, I thought their musical style was well suited and complemented the others well, although having a very original sound. Consisting of Andrew Hunt – Vocals, Jonny Williams – Guitar, Darren King on Bass (who pulled some great rock and roll faces) and Gareth Hunt on drums. Their music is inoffensive, easy to listen too, yet full of energy and you can see why these guys are doing well. We’d highly recommend their self titled debut album too.

Andrew Hunt - Buffalo Summer

Track list consisted of 1. Horse Called Freedom  2. Ain’t No Other  3. Overrated  4. Bird on a Wire  5. Rolls on Thought  6. Down to the River and 7. Money.

As stated earlier, our interview with Scorpion Child was very insightful and felt very relaxed. Unprompted and without awkwardness, they discussed those band members that have left for whatever reason, their new drummer, Jon Rice and how easy the transition has been. If you’d like to hear that interview, please go HERE.

I first witnessed Scorpion Child at Nuneaton’s, Queens Hall. That night was very special, and won’t be beaten any time soon, however tonight’s set was still great, but entirely different. The most noticeable difference was the line up, however the quality and class was still there! The band still sound extremely tight and the music is as powerful as I remember, but, one thing I did notice was that although Chris is an exceptional guitar player, he can’t play lead and rhythm at the same time. The lack of a rhythm guitarist meant their music lacked the full on power and sound that I remembered from Nuneaton.

Christopher Cowart - Scorpian Child

That’s not to say these guys sounded terrible, not by a long shot and you can’t fault them for their energy on stage either. Shaun floats around the stage, with his bass like he’s in a boxing ring and with every note played, you can see the passion on his face. Chris is doing the whole guitar hero pose as he blisters every finger during his phenomenal solos, new comer Jon is clearly a genius on the skins, as he demonstrated during a drum solo and Aryn still has his hypnotic gravel toned voice that’s a joy to listen too. You could tell tonight meant a lot to the band, as they pulled out all the stops, Aryn even jumped onto the bar during the last song, making a spectacle of himself, but was great to see!

Aryn Black - Scorpian Child

The biggest talking point of the night has to be the guy passing out, just before the band introduced their track “Seizure Year” unfortunate title and situation then! Ben, apologetically stopped the band to make sure the guy was ok. Thankfully, he got back up, allowing Scorpion Child to finish off their amazing co-headlining set.

Track list consisted of 1.I might be a Man  2. Liquor  3. Secret Spot  4. Salvation Slave  5. My Woman in Black  6. Kings Highway  7. Polygon of Eyes  8. Paradigm  9. Seizure Years. Encore – She Sings I Kill.

Co-headliners Monster Truck finished off what already been a great night, which only got better when they started to play. Fresh from their set at Hammerfest, where we saw them give an amazing performance with these guys certainly being one of the best bands from that weekend.

Jon - Monster Truck

What was nice tonight though, was the intimacy between us the crowd and the band, being a much smaller stage and having no smoke machine (although the lighting wasn’t the best tonight) we could see the band much more clearly than at Hammerfest. I also got to see their set list, which I couldn’t last weekend. As before, these guys had a great groove about them, they still gave 110% despite being a smaller crowd, but still a healthy attendance. Jer was as crazy as before, yielding his axe with such velocity, Jon’s voice is very powerful and was very loud, which he enjoyed immensely, as did we.

Jer - Monster Truck

An element I like about this band is the keyboards, expertly played by Brandon, who chooses to make his keyboard sound like he’s rocking a church organ and helps to give this band a very distinctive sound. Tonight was yet another great performance from a great band.

Steve - Monster Truck

Track list consisted of 1.Undercover Love  2.The Lion  3.Boogie  4.Runnin and True (probably not full titles), 5. Sworded Beat  6.  MTN  7. The Giant  8. For The Sun  9. Seven Seas Blues  10. Power of the People  11. Old Train  12. Call it a Spade and 13. Righteous Smoke

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)