January 9, 2010

Fallen Martyr - The Six Roots of True Will

Fallen Martyr is an interesting band. As I listen to this six track debut release, I hear a band that is inches away from "it." What is "it"? You know, they have the skills, the talent, the ability to go far and make it big. With that said, they are not quite there yet. I like The Six Roots of True Will, but it has flaws that hold it back. Fortunately, they are fixable flaws, flaws that some more time together, some more live shows, and some more songwriting should be able to rectify in relatively short order. The important thing to remember is not to let these issues scare you away from checking this album out or going to see the live.

I have a strong suspicion that the members of Fallen Martyr are on the young side. I have no concrete information backing that up, but listening to these songs is to hear the exuberance of youth. Slightly formulaic, but with a certain level of imagination and a desire to showcase all of their skills at the same time. In a way it is rather exciting to listen to. It is clear Fallen Martyr have big plans. A little more time, a little more focus and they will get there quick. In a way, I envy those who live near their local stomping grounds who get to see them often perform live. I am sure you have seen them grow by leaps and bounds. I say this based on experiences I have had with local acts in my area.

On the songs that comprise The Six Roots of Evil it is pretty clear to recognize some of their influences. I hear pieces of Dream Theater, some Arch Enemy, and at times touches of King's X (primarily in the clean vocals, they sometimes have Doug Pinnick-like tinges). This is not a bad thing and something that will fade the more songs they write.


There are a couple of weak elements to look at here. First is song structure, there simply is not a lot of variety from song to song. There are heavy thrashy sections with growled vocals, slightly less-thrashy verses with one of a couple of versions of clean vocals, and some melodic portions. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It is not the end of the world, but a little variety would have helped spice things up a little bit. The other issue are the vocals themselves. The screamed vocals are fine, but the clean vocals are sometimes a touch too angsty and other times are out of tune. I like that a couple different styles of clean are employed, but when they are out of tune I get tossed out of the moment.

On the other side of the coin, there is no doubt they have chops. There is some very impressive guitar work going on here. Twin guitars create a think wall of sound and proceed to craft some nice shredding lead breaks. The drums are just as solid keeping everything surging forward. Yes, the drums sometimes seem to be stuck in perpetual blast beat mode, but they work here.

When it comes right down to it, this is not a perfect album, but how many of those are there compared to how many albums are released? I am fairly certain it is a low ratio. Fallen Martyr have made an impressive independent debut. It is very clear they have a desire to craft original music and are currently making very good music on the verge. If you like metal, I think this is a band worth looking into and supporting. I bet their next release is a big step up from this.

Bottomline. Want to bang your head and throw up the horns? You could do a lot worse than this. Put it on, turn it up and be impressed by what they have accomplished and the apparent talent for future success.


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