No concessions to melody or subtlety

Back in the mists of time when I was first starting work on what was to become The Australian Metal Guide, I heard about a fabled Adelaide death metal band called Martire and their long-lost album, Brutal Legions of the Apocalypse.

Tracks from it had turned up occasionally on splits with acts like Angelcorpse and Throneum and on underground Australian metal compilations, but the album itself seemed destined only for legend.

Imagine my surprise then, when Brutal Legions of the Apocalypse finally found its way into the Loud mailbox. Fourteen  years is a long time for an album to sit in statis, and this one hasn’t aged well. The sound is true to the band’s raw and primitive approach and Martire make no concessions whatsoever to melody or any form of subtlety. Every song is played at a furious and relentless pace with vomited vocal rasps from Vince Feleppa. You will have no idea what this guy is going on about. Which is as it should be.

There is little to distinguish each song from the next most of the time, although the title track stands out with some cross-fading and brief bass splats from StarGazer’s Great Righteous Destroyer and “Blood Prophet” has a doom-ridden breakdown that highlights the drumming of The Serpent Inquisitor. But the rhythm guitar is a constant buzz that leaves the riffs nothing more than an indistinct, samey-sounding blur and the Slayeresque lead squeals are pretty much that. That said, the instrumental track “Lucixion” comes together with tremolo picking, a bass solo and a lead break that, while it’s not much different to any of the others, lasts more than a second or two. It’s probably the album’s highlight, but at second to last on the album most won’t stick around for that long to hear it.

Brutal Legions of the Apocalypse is a raw and visceral album but it isn’t really a very interesting one – virtually everyone on this has since gone on to make far better records in a string of other bands including StarGazer, Mournful Congregation, Tzun Tzu and Oni. This may be worth a casual listen for those with an interest in the mystical past of metal in this country, but that’s really about it.

1. Invasion
2. Puritans
3. Brutal Legions of the Apocalypse
4. Hellucinate
5. Hellstorm
6. Massachrist
7. Chaos Rape
8. Blood Prophet
9. Lucixion
10. Blades of Sheol