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Martiria is an epic/doom metal rock band formed back in the '80s and re-founded (after a long pause) in 2002. Seven album published (last one R-Evolution, with ex Black Sabbath Vinny Appice - 2014).

The band was formed back in the '80s. At the beginning the band was very much oriented towards Doom/Metal sounds such as: early Candlemass and Black Sabbath. After releasing just a few demos and featuring various musicians, in 1998 the members of the group decide to take a break for a while in order to experience different projects. (continue)

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Reviews / Interviews

Album: On the way back ( 2011 )


Date: September '11
Author: Greg
Vote: 85%
Language: English
Direct link: click here

Symphonic metal is something that I don't have too much experience with, but I have heard good and bad sides of the genre, and I decided I needed to get into an entire album rather than just hearing odd songs from bands. The album I am reviewing of the genre is Martiria's fourth symph-metal release, called On the Way Back. Ooooh, sounds moody. Nice cover art, too. Maybe this'll be good.

On the Way Back is basically a meat-and-potatoes heavy metal album consisting of basic riffs and musicality, but features elements that attempt to push it into something more. Symphony-mimicking keyboards are very prevalent in the mix here, as well as longer songs than one would find on a basic metal album (one song reaches the 9-minute mark). Interludes are strewn here and there throughout the songs and music, and the structure and flow of the album shifts occassionally during songs. I think it's easy to say that the band is trying to go for an epic atmosphere with this album, trying to create landscapes of scenery (hinted at by the panoramic album art). The problem is, this approach, while not a complete failure, is not fully successful either. While the album does have plenty of nice moments and patterns, very few of the songs ever really take flight and lift from the ground.

I feel that after the first real song (Drought, which follows a short a cappella song called Cantico), I can predict what the music is going to do throughout the album. The only thing to differentiate songs is the tempo at which they are played. Some are fast and uppity, while some are slow and dragged out. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but here, I find that the music that the band makes on this album just doesn't lift me or give me emotion or strength or anything that a metal album should give. The band's symphonic tone seems very run-of-the-mill and regular. The atmosphere it tries to push doesn't have much of a back bone, as it seems to rely almost totally on the underlying keyboards as an instrument of passionate music. Sure, there are some nice moving moments, such as the interlude in Apocalypse, but for the most part I can't help but feel that the atmosphere is illusionary and forced rather than something that's legitimately moving or lifting. There's little excitement or power in the music, and the plodding guitar riffs (mostly sounding like filler Iron Maiden riffs) drag the album down.

Just to point out though, this album is by no means offensively bad or unbearable. It's just very average and in some places, dull. The vocals (operatic vocals that seem to be a little bit like the vocals of the current singer in Kamelot) don't do anything for me, and while they're good talent-wise, I just can't FEEL anything from them. A lot of time also they seem stuck between an operatic singing voice and a yell. Again, I don't necessarily mind yelling, but when singing turns inadvertently into yelling, that's signs that the vocalist is missing something. It is fairly solid music, but it does nothing to go above and beyond or strike unique qualities into their genre. It's a flat album, and while it does have basic good qualities like some good melodic riffs and nice, flashy instrumentation at times (mostly in the drumming), it's nothing new or unique.

As the album spins through it's hour-long length, the songs seem to blend as my attention wavers from the music. It becomes bothersome to listen to the whole thing fully and in one sitting, which is probably why I had to listen to it in two takes my first time hearing it. I think this album needed a few songs that more strongly contrasted tone (a few headbangers or quick-paced heavy songs would help lift this album), or maybe a shorter run time. Martiria also needs to use more means to create atmospheric songs other than keyboards. Remember, bands like Darkthrone, Kamelot, Tool, recent Burzum, and early Black Sabbath could create great striking atmospheres without relying on plodding interludes and incessant syrupy keyboards. Also, songs with better song structures, songs that actually went on a decisive and evident direction, would benefit the band very well. Many of the songs are overlong considering what they deliver and could've been cut down.

I really tried to enjoy this album, but I was hard pressed. I don't and can't hate this album, as it isn't pathetic or trashy, but it maintains such a level of average-ness that it's hard to give it any more of a 12/20. It's made to listen to just for it's few nice moments that come at least once per song, but other than that there isn't much here.

© Greg


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