Martyr Defiled - In Shadows EP (2012)

The time has come. Storming up the stairs, pistol in hand, corpses of fallen security personnel lining your wake, you have become a rage-powered juggernaut driven by one thing: change. Taking a sharp left, storming down the hallway to the penthouse suite of a towering corporate skyscraper, preparing to pull the trigger of a gun aimed at igniting a  revolution that will sweep the world. Likewise, politically-minded, slam-infused deathcore group Martyr Defiled’s latest release, In Shadows displays a finely-tuned, carefully perfected and balanced message of social revolution. Loaded with back-breaking spines and blood-rushing build-ups, infused with driving, shredding riffs and melodic solos, this EP tells a story of socio-political uprising while demonstrating a genre-defining revolution to boot.

Martyr Defiled present the revolution that is In Shadows using three defining factors–acts, if you will. The first act is the incredible syncopation between the guitars, bass and drums. In Shadows is a guitar-powered machine, weaving in powerful, punctual riffs between pounding, bone-grinding grooves. Album opener “Black Mesa” showcases this expertly, with a closing riff that, while flowing and bouncing smoothly, also has a marked level of technicality and expertise behind it. While the guitar weaves and threshes dynamic chug-riff magnificence, the drums pound away in the background with colorful, splashy cymbals and deep, beefy bass. The driving force that the drums provide behind the EP is amplified by the subtle use of fills and accents snuck in tastefully, but expertly, in each track. “Nemesis” and “Vultures” are proof of this, as while the guitars and vocals are hogging a majority of the limelight, the drums sneak out just long enough to drop a cascading, rolling fill that leaves the listener in shock.

Act two of In Shadow’s undeniable prowess lies with the vocals, and the lyrics within them. Comprised of pseudo-sociopathic misanthropy, the lyrics fuel Martyr Defiled’s raging inferno which the instruments sparked. Fans of their previous releases–Collusion, especially–will be pleased to know that iconic vocal cues for spine-shattering breakdowns (see: “Act of Sedition”) have not gone out-of-style. While the vocals themselves have taken on a noted more metallic and thrash-influenced mid-range yell (amplified by the presence of legendary metalcore guest vocalists Jonathan O’Callaghan of LIFERUINER and James Dexter of Demoraliser), the tactics they employ persist. “Goldstein,” one of In Shadows’s singles is proof of this–as is album highlight “Nemesis” and the aforementioned “Black Mesa.” Each of these tracks feature a vocal push which ignites a rain of bone-breaking and skin-blistering brutality guaranteed to crush the listener.

Finally, Martyr Defiled’s third tactic is the deepest and most intense of them all, and consists of the creative dynamic–a brutal dialectic of sorts–which constitutes In Shadows. While the vocals on their own are goose bump inducing, and the instrumentation on the EP is, at times, without equal, the manner in which they function together is what makes In Shadows truly breathtaking. “Nemesis” (amongst the other tracks on the release) is exemplary of this–immediately before the climactic breakdown, the instruments cut as a harsh, strained vocal push sends chills down the listener’s spine telltale of nothing but impending doom. The following breakdown displays a tightly coordinated and expertly written breakdown which is best described as refined, practiced chaos. Indeed, amongst Martyr Defiled’s new found progression into hard-hitting, riff-driven deathcore, their penchant for heavy slams and chugging, deciduous breakdowns has not been left by the wayside.

Staring down the sights of your handgun, aimed dead center between the eyes of the CEO behind the logo that symbolizes nothing but corporate greed and class struggle, you freeze up. Is this really right? Is this the change you really wish to see in the world? Martyr Defiled provide the answer–a resounding yes–forcing you to pull the trigger and unleash the hellfire that is In Shadows. Packed with crushing slams, punctual drumming, pummeling, driving riffs, and, of course, stellar, shin-splitting breakdowns, Martyr Defiled’s In Shadows is a comprehensive release which revolutionizes deathcore–giving the listener’s jaw rug-burn in the process.

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By Connor Welsh ~ Me Gusta Reviews



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