Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I used to review CDs for from like 2001-2002. Possibly the only decent CDs I ever got were the Irate and Through The Discipline EPs and some random disc from a band called Clearing Autumn Skies. All I ever knew of the band were that they were from California and sounded like a west coast take on earlier Candiria material (minus the jazz). I haven't listened to this EP in a few years. I recently pulled it out and was equally blown away as the first time I heard it back in 2002.

This is the definition of a criminally underrated band. I have yet to meet a single person who was even remotely familiar with this group. They put out a follow-up full length and later turned into Apiary (minus the drummer) who did a full length for Iron Clad Records. (Apiary has since turned into the band Early Graves and has somehow lost every single original member in the process.) These are both solid releases, but neither of them have been able to match up to this EP for some reason. There's just something about the recording of the original EP that the follow-ups fail to re-create in my fucked up head. I'm sure its nothing more than a personal inclination towards the first thing I had heard from them, but who can really

The music flows back and forth between the dreary acoustic instrumentation that went hand-in-hand with their earlier metalcore counterparts and the off-time, down-tuned Meshuggah-esque chugging in which the metalcore bands of today are still trying to perfect. As previously stated the band constantly breaks into Candiria styled riffing and percussion work reminiscent of their Beyond Reasonable Doubt and Surrealistic Madness albums without lifting any of their actual material. The vocals remind me of something that I can't put my finger on. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

I initially uploaded the Apiary full length while it was unknowingly still in press. If you've downloaded it, I'm sure you loved it and should now go HERE to purchase it from Iron Clad Recordings.

Drummer John Lazarus has been playing with Stomacher since the end of Clearing Autumn Skies. Guitarist Mike McClatchey has three projects under the monikers Balcony, Lament Cityscape and The Conceal (which is possibly the heaviest thing I've heard in years). All of these projects are putting out some of the more interesting music I've heard in recent memory all across the musical spectrum


Thursday, August 13, 2009

MARTYR AD: The Human Condition In Twelve Fractions

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.