“Obliteration is very simply a ‘choke-and-release’ style of record, the musical equivalent of domestic violence.”
Eulogy I (Dysphemism: Miscarriage of Christ)
Tsunami II (Chesham Rites)
Whores of Death – Wenches of Belial
Eulogy II (The Walking Death)
Necroseptic Risen King
De Profanatitus Mortuus ex Christii
Earth Cracked in Half
Eulogy III (De Eternus Nigrum)
Witch of Death
Martyrvore are a monstrosity grown in New Hampshire, United States, A land whose legacy is stained with the brutality of inventing the first alarm clock and planting America’s first potato plant. Forged in 2002, Martyrvore released a consistent stream of demos and splits up until 2007. Seven years passed and the band resurfaced with their first full-length, Obliteration, which was released initially in 2014.
Obliteration consists of 19 volleys of dense, antagonistic death metal that shares a close sonic relationship to the deconstructionist musical themes of 1990s grindcore. Picture, if you will, an incestuous crawling beast comprised of Sadistic Intent, Nunslaughter, and Napalm Death (old Napalm Death. Not current-era Lena Dunham commiegrind Napalm Death). Martyrvore keeps the musical formula on Obliteration systemically violent: short songs comprised of pairs and trios of visceral central musical ideas (main riffs), propelled by manic drumming, and shocked into short, miserable existences by way of Necro-Christ’s primeval death-grunting.
Songs such as “Tsunami”, “Tsunami II”, and “Holocaust Terror” are dissonant, gritty blasts of primal destruction. The dissonant tonality of the guitars and the emphasis on syncopation-level interaction between guitars and percussion remind of the morbid bleakness of early Sadistic Intent. Necro-Christ delivers vocals in an almost hurried, panicked manner, always sounding like it was bellowed out from a cavern.
“Whore of Death – Wenches of Belial” and “Witch of Death” start in a slower manner but always return to the violent, fast-rushing wall of sound Martyrvore employ throughout the entirety of Obliteration. There are no slow tracks on this album, nothing by way of electronic instrument, and no respect given to melody or pleasantry. Obliteration is very simply a ‘choke-and-release’ style of record, the musical equivalent of domestic violence.
There has been an evolution within this niche of death metal that has seen the use of more conventional production properties. Martyrvore took Obliteration in the opposite direction. There is a flattened gray sensation to the production, highlighted by the broad, popping bass drums and gunshot snare. Guitars are leveled well and churn together to help create the wall of sound sensation. Necro-Christ’s vocals could be a little louder, but otherwise, there is little to critically whine about, production-wise.
As more grindcore and death metal resolve themselves to performing musical formulas by the numbers, acts like Martyrvore become increasingly valuable. Modernization of sound for both genres has helped with everything but the actual music itself. Obliteration, released initially in 2014, possesses a much older spirit. It remains a staunch listen that is challenging on its first play, but the grotesquery and violence housed in Obliteration makes it a seismic experience.