Martyrdöd - Elddop
Southern Lord
Crust Punk
15 songs (47'35")
Release year: 2014
Official Myspace, Southern Lord
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Granted, I am not the world's authority on hardcore crust punk. So I was picking up a copy of Martyrdod latest album Elddop with a little trepidation. The genre definition does sound a little scary, but the thinking went that the Swedes, being an established commodity in this realm, would be a good representation and a starting point of introduction at the same time. Once in a while, when I step outside of my comfort zone, I tend to find a gem, just like grindcore team Wolfbrigade a few years ago.

When Nodkanal begins, with its obvious melody and measured tempo, the scary notion may indeed go out the window and as the juicy guitar develops its sound Elddop may even feel, should I say, welcoming. In fact, Martyrdod are very smart with their song sequence selection, beginning the album with a variety of cuts any stale death metal band would be envious of. Sure, En Jobbigt Javel is a lot more chaotic than Nodkanal, but then Synd has a lengthy interesting intro before plunging off the deep end as well as an unusual non-linear rhythm. Mer skada an nytta places breakdown before anything else, the bass pulsating and guitars grinding over the top. Victoria goes from jangly to playful with a mocking melodic solo in the middle. The grind wall and D-beat are full on in Slav Manual, but the subtle melody towards the end is fantastic. The depraved, dregs exposing pieces will be there (Tentakler, Skum pa varidens hav, Varningens klokor, Steg), but by then I felt wholly at home with Martyrdod, Mikael Kjellman’s vocals equal amount fire breathing demon and desperate man screaming when out on the limb. When I went back to re-listen to the album, every one of its succinct to-the-point songs was something I could enjoy in its own right, be it the D-beating assault or melodic step aside.

A separate nod must be given to Martyrdod's guitar sound. Whichever studio crust punk bands turn to in order to have their albums produced, the Swedes chose to stay home and work with Fredrik Nordstrom from Studio Fredman. While preserving its full distorted masculinity, Martyrdod's guitars acquired this subtle sense of punch and clarity and it is this little wrinkle which, in my modest opinion, is a huge win for the band. Further, Martyrdod have an uncanny sense for a touch of folk in their melodies. Whereas Synd hints at Irish Riverdance, the title track can be called Bathorian. Martyrdod may not be a Viking band in the sense that they do not wear fur or drink from the horn, but when you listen to the title track it is impossible not to have an image of Viking festivities conjured up. These ,moreover, would not feel cartoonish, but, in fact, authentic, ages-old ancient Scandinavian dwellers celebrating from the heart.

To close things up for this must hear album, Martyren is a stellar full-bodied deep instrumental with a commanding harmony, and Under Skinnet has Martyrdod combining their droning punk with a female voice, an interesting combo. These are two more unusual choices on the album which never stopped surprising.

From someone with little experience in crust, if anything there is like Martyrdod, the genre just might become one of my favorites.

Killing Songs :
Nodkanal, Victoria, Elddop, Martyren
Alex quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Martyrdöd that we have reviewed:
Martyrdöd - List reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Martyrdöd - Sekt reviewed by Charles and quoted 70 / 100
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