Martyr AD

On Earth as It Is in Hell

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Unusually for a semi-major label like Victory, Martyr AD's second full-length release is completely straightforward Scandinavian-style death metal with few hardcore, emo, or pop influences. The Minnesota-based quintet, born out of the ashes of the late, lamented Disembodied with new singer Andy Hart screaming his best death-rattle bellow over Joel Johnson and Charlie Johnson's lockstep unison guitar riffs, deliver 12 concise, pummelingly hard tracks in just over 30 minutes, balancing the longer and more traditional songs with brief, even noisier interludes like the two-part "The Last Words of Any Meaning," which keeps the album from dragging the way that so many similar records do. The particular highlight is the corrosive speedcore blast "American Hollow," on which drummer Karl Hensel's double-bass pedal sounds like it was hooked up to a motor running at about 2000 rpm. A strong improvement over Martyr AD's debut, On Earth as It Is In Hell is about as good as American death metal gets.

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