by Xander Folsom

Martyr Art’s 2013 release, “Distorted Interpretations”, is a bold slap in the face of convention. Instead of wedging themselves into one specific genre like so many bands, Joe Gagliardi III and Brad Lane have bolted and welded their myriad musical influences together to create a progressive metal monster.

Immediately, their daring is shown in their opening track cover of Faith No More’s classic, “Paths of Glory”. As a rabid Faith No More fan I was skeptical, but the band rips through the track with ferociously crunching guitar and solid, thundering percussion, as techno-synth interludes and samples round out the sound. It’s an impressive opener.

Next comes an unassuming, glitchy techno beat, which serves as an intro for “Escaping Oblivion”, an amphetamine-fueled thrash rocker with Serj Tankian-esque vocals on the choruses. Suddenly, the song schizophrenically drops into a hole of doom with a descending chord progression amidst the tolling of church bells. This group seems confident to go in any sonic direction.

“Bliss” and “In Utero” are two standouts on this album. They both nail the grungy ‘90s, quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic, but also have distinctly groovy bass lines and synth-pop melodies. “Vertigo” and “Go Away” both showcase the band’s penchant for genre-bending. The former is a pulsating, hypnotic instrumental, not unlike an Isis tune. The latter, an amalgam of death-metal, goth, and punk that somehow dissolves into punishing, grinding double-bass and soaring guitar solos. Viva variety!

Martyr Art revel in the ecclectic and they’re skilled enough musicians to metamorphose between styles, while still producing something cohesive. A mammoth effort, “Distorted Interpretations” proves that a group doesn’t need to fit a mold to produce a solid album. And on the mostly flat landscape of heavy music today, that’s a rare quality.

Official Website: http://www.martyrart.com