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Album Review

It's a sign of how happily jumbled the sonic universe is in the 21st century when an album on Southern Lord could almost be a kissing cousin to F****d Up's David Comes to Life — not that the Swedish group Martyrdöd need to take any particular cues from that Canadian band, given their decade-long existence by the time they released Paranoia in 2012. But for all the tags of crustpunk and hardcore the group has received, there's something directly impassioned in the delivery of Martyrdöd's lead vocalist, Mikael Kjellman, that aims at the same sort of impact one can hear in many acts for whom rabble-rousing anthems are a starting point for all kinds of musical approaches. When the opening "Nog Är Nog" kicks in, the combination of what could almost be old-school 1980s power/thrash metal and Kjellman's distinctly non-black/death metal rasp is an invigorating wallop as much as a crushing statement. The album's general feeling follows in this vein, simultaneously straightforward and quietly exploratory. Sometimes it's down to bursts of brief but thrilling solos cascading over the main arrangements, as on the excellent "Köttberg," while elsewhere the brief spoken word bit on "Hör Världens Rop" acts as an off-kilter contrast to an amazing rip of a chorus. Ultimately, the fact that every song sounds individually great while never taking away from the overall flow of the entire album — hitting a sweet spot of huge chunky riffs and vocal impact — is the key to Paranoia's success.


Formed: 2001 in Gothenberg, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Martyrdöd is a Swedish quartet who specialize in a brand of crust and d-beat punk informed by extreme and black metal influences. They were formed in 2001 in Gothenburg by vocalist/guitarist Mikael Kjellman, bassist Anton Grönholm, drummer Jens Bäckelin, and guitarist/backing vocalist Pontus Redig. Gronholm left soon thereafter and was replaced by a number of different bassists. Their self-titled debut album was issued in 2003, followed by We Walk the Line, a split-EP with Sunday Morning Einsteins....
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Paranoia, Martyrdöd
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