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4 out of 5 skulls
February 11, 2015 | ,

Martyrdöd Elddop

2012’s Paranoia from Swedish four-piece Martyrdöd was a swift kick to the balls in the MouthForWar household. I wasn’t expecting the combination of crust and melody that the band wielded with some serious aggression. Well, I’m more prepared this time around and Elddop not only continues what I first heard a couple of years ago, but also throws a few curveballs in the process.

For Martyrdöd’s second full-length with Southern Lord, the group keeps the vitriol, but makes their music more personal and, for lack of a better word here, emotional. There’s a definite feeling of release throughout these 15 songs. Those experiences and emotions pent since the last release flood from the speakers right from the start of opening track “Nödkanal.” The first few moments of this song also carries a Hail of Bullets type riff that had me fooled for a bit — expecting some serious death metal — before the group shifts to a head-banging, crusty rhythm.

Mikael Kjellman’s harshly barked vocals and emotive screams combine right from the beginning for a delivery that is both vicious and sincere. Songs like the raucous “En Jobbigt Jävel” benefit from the more straightforward wrath of the band with churning riffs, driving rhythms and snarling vocals. “Synd,” on the other hand, almost has an 80’s vibe to the guitar tone and a bounce to the drum work that belies the album’s overall presentation. It also signifies a slight change in the band’s direction.

Yes, the crusty, d-beat chug is present, but the music also takes on a lighter side. There’s a distinct ebbing of aggression as the album progresses. “Victoria” delivers that feeling of sincerity mentioned earlier. “Tentakler” slows things down with elements of despair peppering the catchy rhythms and riffage. “Martyren” is as melodic as the group gets on the album, but for those fans of the more confrontational aspect of Martyrdöd, have no fear — it’s not all rainbows and unicorns here. “Slav Manual” is a barebones display of crusty punk mayhem, while “Skum pä väridens hav” blasts away relentlessly and “Hjärnspoken” hits pretty damn heavily.

Ever energetic and uncompromised, Elddop deliveries memorable moments throughout it’s run time. Toss in a powerful production (and slightly cleaner than predecessors) and you’ve got yourself one hell of an album.

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