Martyrs Shrine Martyrs Shrine (Soundmass) 2008

1. "The Final Devastation Of The Terrorthrone" (8:51)
2. "For A Burning Eternity" (7:27)
3. "Butchered Planet" (6:48)
4. "Amongst The Putrid" (6:49)
5. "Valley Of Darkness" (6:56)
6. "Martyr Shrine" (4:35)
7. "Superstition" (4:59)
8. "Apparition" (4:55)

Martyrs Shrine is a project by two ex-Mortification and ex-Cybergrind members, guitarist Michael Carlisle and drummer Mike Forsberg. Together these two guys deliver simple, heavy, old-school death metal. Michael Carlisle performs all the guitar and bass parts, while Mike Forsberg performs all the drums and vocals. For the most part Forsberg's vocals are low, gutteral growls. They sound as though they may have been pitch shifted to give them a heavier, more "brutal" sound. Musically, the band members have gone back to their roots writing simplistic, mostly mid-paced death metal like Six Feet Under or Bolt Thrower. That's not to say there isn't some fast parts on here too. There are those necessary blast beats, and even some slower doomy parts to give the songs a bit more variety. Of course with Carlisle writing, there are some similarities to early Mortification as well. The guitars a tuned down at least one full step, making for a raw, heavy guitar sound.

Unfortunately many of the songs are really long without offering enough variation in the riffs to keep it interesting. One thing that might have added to the album would have been some guitar solos. I don't recall hearing even one guitar solo throughout this album, not even some simplistic melodic solos. Michael Carlisle sticks to playing rhythm guitar only. Frankly, I think this holds the album back a bit from what could have been. I much prefer the last three, shorter songs to the longer, epic length songs. As it stands, however, this is still an enjoyable CD. There is something almost enchanting about the simplicity of it all. Perhaps it's nostalgia for the days when death metal was about the grunt and grind, rather than writing overly technical songs. Those longing for the early days of death metal should find something to enjoy here. However, if technical songwriting is your game, Martyrs Shrine isn't for you. Essential collecting for Mortification fanatics. Hardcore collector's will want to also look for the original, independent pressing of this album, which has a different cover and was limited to only 500 autographed copies.

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