Review: “Collusion” by Martyr Defiled (10th Anniversary)

26th September 2010 saw Lincoln Death Metallers Martyr Defiled follow up their debut album “Ecophaghy” with their sophomore effort “Collision“. Having called time on the band in 2018 after 5 albums together and with former members appearing in Magna Carta and Viscera since, we raised our eyebrows at appearances at Fury Fest and Tech-Fest were announced for April and July 2020 respectively as one off appearances. As those shows didn’t happen, we can only wonder whether the band will reappear at some point in the future as it seems that the hunger is still there. We’ve timed this review to coincide with what would have been the later of those two reunion shows on purpose, for nothing more than nostalgic effect. We saw them at Tech-Fest in 2018 and then a few months later with Borders and Cope at a packed Camden Underworld on one of their final shows and Matthew Jones (Vocals), Richard Duffin (Drums), Lee Cook (Guitar), Aaron Yarrow (Bass) and Ryan Smith (Guitar) got a fantastic send off and they are sorely missed.

The Misstiq esq synth pattern that brings in the bludgeoning Tech-Metal riffs of opening instrumental “Enigma” adds a creepy ghostly aspect to underpin the breakdown fest before “Malestrom” kicks in like The Black Dahlia Murder got synths. A furious Tech infused Death Metal onslaught with some lethal jackhammer footwork and a brilliant solo, it sets the tone for what is essentially a concept album about Government corruption leading to the creation of a Dystopian Island that has some influence from films like V for Vendetta. Matthew Jones vocals are as brutal as them come, cleverly switching tone and pitch at various points to change the angle of vocal attack. “An Act of Sedition” continues the trend they’ve set with the first pairing of tracks while throwing down a Black Metal blast beat section in the final third before breaking into a monumental breakdown section before Jones spits out venomously “Freedom is a f***ing lie!”, something so regularly screamed back at him by audiences in the following eight years.

Battening down the hatches for the Death Metal onslaught of “Masochist“, which has a couple of Hardcore hooks and odd time signatures that allow the band to incorporate some more Progressive Death Metal riffs into the fold, especially when it comes to the leads. The relentless pummeling of the kit work only serves to add to the groove and a short, sharp solo is perfectly executed. Once again, closing with a perfectly timed atmospheric breakdown is brilliant. Unlike some Deathcore bands, what Martyr Defiled have always done well is to use those breakdowns sparingly and use their craft to make sure that they don’t come off as sounding forced or shoehorned in. “I:Zealot” some how manages to squeeze some extra intensity out of the bands performance, perhaps the lyrics meaning a little more to them, but the frenetic pace doesn’t let up until the final nail is drilled into the coffin. That allows for the sonic break of the melodic tones of “II: Excommunicate” to provide an ocean deep atmosphere with Jones throat shredding vocals sounding like a Kraken struggling in choppy waters. Other bands may have been tempted by clean vocals here but the punchy rhythmic moments cutting through the bright leads staccato style don’t lend themselves to that.

Joined by Jason Evans of Manchester Slamming Death Metallers Ingested fame for the third movement and title track “III: Collusion” sees the Martyr Defiled perhaps play to his strengths in the opening half and go for the jugular with breakdowns Deathcore style. Evans vocals are nothing short of deadly demonic as he screams lines like “I will burn you down!” and in some ways reminds of Daniel Weyandt of Zao in that respect. In the final third an injection of melody with a mournful somber verse and radio sample about corruption in Education and Religious institutions as the Government looks to control the whole World is as blissful as it is unexpected. Taking a leaf out of the Born of Osiris playbook with some killer lead moments “The Sectarian State” is another that seriously impresses, partly because Martyr Defiled have worked out how to add melodic moments that detract from their onslaught and in fact make them punch that much harder. They do that to stunning effect in the middle of this track which lulls your ears into a false sense of security before subjecting them to sections of palm muted chugging with momentary breaks that is sublime. Perhaps inspired by “One” by Metallica, “Archae” aches as it builds for the first 150 seconds or so before the drums come crashing down but maintains that mournful lead part underneath as it plays out, giving it an almost orchestral feel of epic grandeur and an instrumental piece of stature to finish on [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Enigma
  2. Maelstrom
  3. An Act Of Sedition
  4. Masochrist
  5. I: Zealot
  6. II: Excommunicate
  7. III: Collusion (ft. Jason Evans of Ingested)
  8. The Sectarian State
  9. Archae

Collusion” by Martyr Defiled has been out for a decade via Siege Of Amidia Records


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