Through recent conversations with some younger kids, I've realized that a lot of people are only aware of Martyr AD's "On Earth As It Is In Hell" album. With the internet playing the role that it does these days, its weird to think that there are still albums out there that remain void of tenure on iPods amongst the hardcore world. It makes you remember how much ahead of the the time Victory Records was in comparison to the likes of Ferret and Trustkill at the time as far as promotion and distribution goes.
The Human Condition In Twelve Fractions was Martyr AD's first effort as a band. These ex-Disembodied members went straight for the throat with a debut full length release. Unlike most full lengths, this one both deserves and has a reason to exist. Martyr AD can not be summed up in four-to-six tracks. A full length offering was in call and these guys stepped up to the plate with this release.
The album starts off with quite possibly the only fitting intro to the album; Failed Polygraph Examination. Immediately breaking into possibly the most chaotic sounding riff of my at-the-time 16 year old life, Broken Mouth had me hooked from my first listen. I specifically remember thinking "this sounds like The Great Southern Trendkill".
Seventyfive-Twentyfive, the third track on the album, was responsible for making me a lot of friends in Erie, PA. The second or third show I attended up there was the Martyr AD/Throwdown tour in late 2001; at which I was knocked-the-fuck-out during the break in the aforementioned song. I was out cold for the remainder of the song, but stood up and proceeded to mosh for the rest of the set; because I'm hard. Hell, I even tried moshing for Throwdown after but the venue told me I had to "cool it". HxC.
Martyr AD was also responsible for being the band to initially introduce me to The Mr Roboto Project. Somewhere early in the year 2001 was when I first was introduced to The Mr Roboto Project when I went to see Martyr AD and Burnt By The Sun. The venue altered my reality of what going to a show could be (there's no bouncers!?!?! you didn't have to leave smelling like smoke!?!?!) but that is another story for another day I suppose. Point being, had Martyr AD not written such a superior mosh album for its time, I would've been delayed finding out about Roboto for god knows how long (it was rare for the mosh to be present at Roboto back then). I specifically remember wanting to mosh the entire set, yet being too nervous to until the Martyr AD vocalist ran up to the wall and did some sort of kick off of it as though he was on a skateboard; knocking into me and in turn starting the first karate mosh that Roboto had probably ever seen.
As I eluded to earlier, Martyr AD was essentially a continuation of Disembodied after their break-up in 1999. Featuring guitarist Joel (guitar), Tara (bass), and Justin (drums) of their former band, Martyr AD was a furthering of the progression heard on the final Disembodied album. Looking back, the "Heretic" album serves as a perfect precursor to what would eventually be heard from Martyr AD. Its like listening to a 33 RPM Disembodied record at 45 RPM, but with the vocals somehow getting lower and meaner.
As much as I love Disembodied and everything about the band, Martyr AD was definitely an "improvement" on what Disembodied was doing as far as musicianship goes. The drums really got taken up a notch as did the vocals. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics and vocals of Disembodied are perfect in my eyes, however, some of the vocal techniques used by Michael James Fisketti on The Human Condition were considerably groundbreaking; especially for its time. The main reason that their follow-up album on Victory Records couldn't hold up to their debut was the departure of the drummer and vocalist who appeared on said debut. The riffing available on the follow-up is more than satisfactory, however, the vocals and drumming could never keep up the way that they did on the debut (sorry Holding On guys).
Listen to this album the whole way through - DOWNLOAD
POST UPDATE - Stuck In The Past has posted up the definitive collection of Martyr AD demo material. The post includes pre-production for the entire debut album, FOUR tracks from the session with Jared on drums, and five pre-production tracks for On Earth As It Is In Hell. You can download these all at Stuck In The Past.