Martyr Defiled: In Shadows

Nottingham deathcore mob sharpen their tools

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Far from just another beatdown-heavy plod, this second, seven-track EP proves Martyr Defiled have far more metallic know-how than your average deathcore crew.

Not that there’s a lack of cranium crushing moments, with the churning riffs of R/Evolution that are sure to turn any show into a warzone. But it’s when the band focus on other elements of their sound that they put themselves forward as contenders.

Opener Black Mesa is a multi-headed beast of technical riffs and doomy passages reminiscent of Decapitated, while Prison Walls goes from a troubling rumble of strings to a malevolent descending outro. Vultures, which features the fiery growls of Demoraliser’s James Dexter is a refined effort that leaves most of their contemporaries’ distracted hotchpotch of riffs trailing in the dust.

Arguably the finest two tracks are the finishing one-two of financial crisis-baiting Goldstein and Isolate, which show how far MD have come since 2010 debut full-length, Collusion. Both see some murderously contagious riffs and venomous lyrics pack an exhilarating punch, marking out the quintet for future acclaim.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.