Holy Martyr - Darkness Shall Prevail

Holy Martyr - Darkness Shall Prevail

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(CD, Dragonheart Records, 2017)

A new HOLY MARTYR record, yeah! I remember them being very good live when I last saw them. Looking back, I realized this was a decade or so ago since I’d seen these Italians and around the release of their first full length album “Still At War”. Holy s**t, time flies... Fast forward to the present time and “Darkness Shall Prevail”, and a lot has happened in the HOLY MARTYR camp; only Ivano Spiga is left in the line-up and some has happened with the musical direction of the band. Not as much as I first thought digging into “Darkness Shall Prevail” though. It's definitely one step towards being darker and gloomier tunes and the folksy feel and away from the Power Metal. This was perhaps more prominent live than on record.

After the intro, “Shores Of Elenna”, the record starts in a fantastic way with “Númenor”. I really like the mid-tempo beat and Doom-y melodies. It has a touch of Viking / Folk style Metal without having that taking over. Also, the voice of Alessandro Mereu fits perfect; he has a dissonant tone in his voice without being out of tune which really adds on to the dramatic feel in the music. "Heroic Deeds" is nicely built up with an acoustic intro which turns over into a '70s beat type riff which works perfectly. When the vocals come in the song is taken down to half-speed just to return to the initial beat and it sounds fantastic. The chorus is powerful, especially towards the end of the song. I just wish HOLY MARTYR would have done a bit more with it, at least with the vocal line.

Super Heavy "Taur Nu Fuin" is together with the first song my favorites from "Darkness Shall Prevail". The dramatic build-up in the verses with a fateful riff and a MANOWAR-ish vocal line sounds great but the real deal comes in the chorus-line. Or the riff behind it, super-heavy, yet head-bang friendly. The chorus line leans towards Faroe-based TÝR for a few seconds before moving on.

I really enjoy the instrumental passages too. Both "Darkness Descends" and "Minas Morgul" creates a nice break between the Heavy songs. The latter of the two is a beautifully arranged acoustic guitar-piece with great melodies and fantastic melancholy. Also "The Dwarrowdelf" breaks things up in the same way, only it's within the track. It changes from acoustic to the regular Heavy music served by HOLY MARTYR. This is definitely on the verge of Doom. And again Alessandro voice stands out, I love the nerve.

So no, I've definitely not had an eye on HOLY MARTYR as I thought and shame on me for that. They impressed the same way with "Darkness Shall Prevail" as they did on stage a decade ago so perhaps this was the shake I needed to get them back on my radar.





01. Shores Of Elenna
02. Númenor
03. Heroic Deeds
04. Dol Guldur
05. Darkness Descends
06. Taur Nu Fuin
07. Minas Morgul
08. Witch-King Of Angmar
09. The Dwarrowdelf
10. Born Of Hope


Alessandro Mereu - Vocals
Ivano Spiga - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Paolo Roberto Simoni - Guitar
Nicola Pirroni - Bass
Stefano Lepidi - Drums