Martyrdoom – As Torment Prevails (Memento Mori)

Friday, 27th October 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

The marriage of death and doom metal has been parallel probably since the 1990’s – a lot of musicians sharing similar affinities for the heavy properties both styles convey. Polish act Martyrdoom deliver a devastating death/doom unified attack for this second album As Torment Prevails. Originally starting as Deathlust in 2010, they changed monikers the same year – releasing a split promo with Ezkaton in 2012 and their Twisted Perversions demo in the fall of 2013, leading to a deal with Memento Mori for the Grievous Psychosis record in April 2017. These nine tracks fuse together faster/darker death metal with slower, crawling riffs/tempos at times to create this dynamic sonic approach that will keep most underground listeners at rapt attention.

The HM-2 fueled riffs plus supplementary guitar melodies evoke images of Sinister, Dismember, Grave, and Asphyx, Benediction, and Obituary – the slow bends within “Shedding of the Soul” cracking foundations next to the penetrating, low growls of Sociak, his occasional Tardy-esque cackles adding another evil layer to the mix. Haunting horror-like soundscapes open for the six-minute and change “Voidcreeper”, Wasyl’s steady slower/mid-tempo drumming soon giving way to a building deadly tremolo meets low-tuned crunchy riff march, extra blasting measures during the latter third of the arrangement taking the atmosphere to another heavier level before slowing to an almost resting heartbeat momentum. Shorter efforts like “93” or the see-saw bell-like guitar instrumental “Torment” showcase dynamic diversity, while “Festering Existence” contains a whirlwind main musical hook that builds out into more circular, evil measures – probably a number that will go down a storm in a live setting. Closing with an Autopsy cover for “In the Grip of Winter” from their phenomenal Mental Funeral album of 1991, it’s easy to assimilate these musicians appreciation for the early to mid-90’s death/doom movement.

Artist Ryszard Wojtynski (a close friend of H.R. Giger) creates an equally multi-sensory experience when you look at the cover art for As Torment Prevails. In the end, Martyrdoom probably won’t win many points in the originality sweepstakes – but they know their lane when it comes to brutal death/doom to execute the style in spades here.

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