By Dr. Abner Mality

Almost overlooked this one, which would have been a shame, as it's quite an enjoyable record. It surely deserves a better cover than the pathetic thin scrawl provided for it here. How in the world would anybody think such cover art would encourage anybody to buy it?

Martyrdod comes from the long, proud tradition of Swedish hardcore, but I was quite surprised by the epic, melodic qualities of the music here. This band plays music that swells, like wind filling the sails of a galleon headed to war. There is majesty in the guitar harmonies and an uplifting feeling to the songs through the aggression. It is not just another crusty D-beat thrown down...although it must be said that there is plenty of hardcore fury here as well.

You can tell these guys are aiming for a huger sound immediately with "Nodkanal". This one hits really hard but there's an almost baroque quality to the guitar work. We also hear the agonizing raw vocals, which sound like Martin van Drunen on a real bad bender. This is where the hardcore is most strongly felt...but after a whole album of this throat-wrecking stuff, it gets kind of tiresome. The first four tunes here are really the best and show Martyrdod working at top speed. "En Jobbig Javel" is more of the crushing fast metallic hardcore we expect, with an almost Disfear kind of sound. "Synd" has some doomier sound, but it's "Mer Skada An Nytta" that really blows me away. The riffing here is just inspiring and magnificent. As you can tell by now, the lyrics are all in Swedish so even though you can tell there's a lot of emotion in the singing, you don't have a fucking clue what it's about.

The album continues with the odd mixture of epic metal that almost sounds folkish at times and thundering hardcore with harsh vocals. By the end, it kind of wears out its welcome, but the overall impression is very strong. This one almost got away from me but I'm glad I reeled it back in.