Review: Martyrd?d “In Extremis” CD

These Swedish bashers currently share their guitarist with Skitsystem, so it's perhaps no real surprise that their brand of intense crust punk sounds quite similar to their fellow Swedish comrades, though Martyrd?d is indeed injecting a darker and more sinister brand of discordant metal into their attack, which certainly pays off in full! Of course, along with that would come inevitable comparisons to His Hero is Gone (just check out the amazing dissonant twists and slower metallic break in the awesome "H?r Varningen!"), but it's a pretty consistent and even blend of straight, metallic Scandinavian crust and then the more dissonant angle here - generally with relentless speeds that only occasionally let up with quick midpaced breaks. Opener "Din Aur Av Sorg" is among the finest outings herein with its blend of crushing metallic picking patterns and patented Swedish crust arrangements with just the right amount of variety to keep things fresh and interesting. "Vägen Ur" similarly opens a little slower before quickly plunging into a blast of subtly dissonant power chords and layered accents that really exemplifies the energy and intensity that this band has to offer, and "Tämjda Människor" seems a little heavier somehow even though it's among the more persistently repetitious tracks. "V?lkommen Till Dödsriket" is one of the few tracks that offers a couple of quick surges of tremolo picking, but again, it tends to fall back on the tried and true crust punk format here, complete with a few caustic lead lines and that over the top Swedish heaviness. A well needed change of pace is finally provided later in the disc with "Tyst Vår", which kicks off with clean guitars and a midpaced surge with lots of openly melodic playing; while closer "Kollektivt Självmord" sounds almost like black metal for a brief, blazing moment right at the start. The recording was handled at Studio Fredman, so of course it sounds pretty damn good. They've obviously tried to retain a sense of urgency and dirtiness to the tones, successfully I might add, but the mix is still relatively crisp and powerful. I'd like to hear the basslines given more prominence, but it's not a significant concern because a wall of crushing guitars and harsh vocal screams totally drives the material, with dry and natural sounding percussion taking care of business in the background. The layout is all done in black and white with scribbled handwriting and sketchy illustrations that have an atypical look for the genre, and that's cool. All of the lyrics are in Swedish and they only provide translations for the song titles, so tracks like "Welcome to the Kingdom of Death", "Collective Suicide", and "A Collision Course Between Two Worlds" suggest the bleak views one might expect, but also what could be a more creative and open approach, perhaps? My only minor complaint there is that this record is a little too consistent, and some of the songs are a touch too long for what they offer. I'd totally love to hear more of the absolutely crushing runs such as those towards the end of "Hör Varningen!", and the mighty "Tyst Vår" proves that more tempo variation would definitely work wonders for these guys, as they could be an absolutely outstanding band that takes this style into a new direction. This is a damn solid offering, but it's not quite all that it could be just yet. Here's to hoping these guys really nail it next time, because the high points here are fuckin' excellent.

Running time - 39:11, Tracks: 12
[Notable tracks: Din Aur Av Sorg, Hör Varningen!, Vägen Ur, Tyst Vår]
Havoc Records -