The Martyr Index - Molotov Rocktail
Record Label: None
Release Date: April 12, 2008
The Martyr Index pride themselves on being a band that believes in “the power of change." The band’s music stirs this change with lyrics that revolt against oppression and encourages taking power away from governmental forces. It is a mantra that punk rock bands from the ‘70s like The Dead Kennedys and Thin Lizzy followed, showing defiance in the face of the establishment. The punk bands of the ‘70s spoke out against monarchical institutions, very much like the punk-induced hard rock rumbles found in The Martyr Index’s music. The band’s latest release, Molotov Rocktail, shows infernos of punk, classic rock, pop metal, ska, and grit-blues. Though the band emphasizes change, much of their music is reminiscent of the past and many times it is hard to draw a line between music that has been plucked from punk rock’s collective consciousness and material that is original. Molotov Rocktail sounds like an effort at constructing new classic metal dichotomies, but The Martyr Index become so wound up in the stylistics of past metal and punk bands that the album comes off as a homage to these bands rather than taking a step forward in punk metal’s function as a motivator for activism.
For The Martyr Index, their music is a means to evoke feelings and action out of people like a war cry or a pep talk. The band‘s guitarist/vocalist Marek Verminus III told the a Philippines e-zine,“I‘ve always been interested in the notion of an ideal that people would die for,” which he tells, is why he liked the name of the band. Martyrs like Joan of Arc, Jesus Christ, and former Pakistan presidential candidate Benazir Bhutto are some historical figures that have been killed for their beliefs. It is important to note that martyrs do not kill themselves but are killed at the hand of governmental institutions. The lyrics in the song “Hostage” brand this message into the listener’s mind, “Hostage! I’m a hostage / Flesh unfit for meat markets / Hammered well beyond senseless / For what? For what indeed? / Battered souls and bullet holes / The Dow is up now as they close / Whoah! That’s the status quo! / Hostage!” The Martyr Index also offer inspiration to the listener with words like “We’re doing fine / And we don’t mind / We’ll be just fine / When the industry dies / Let it die” from the song “A Word and a Beat.” Their lyrics carry rally cries that inspire being strong and not throwing in the towel, even as the walls around are crumbling down.
Now with a sense of what attracts the band to write, it's clear their music is an extension of these epistles. There are classic rock craters along “Hacienda Luisita” and “It’s Called Rock ‘n’ Roll” and hardcore tiles paneling numbers like “A Word and a Beat,” “Divide Et Imperia,” and “The Baghdad Shuffle,” which showcases the nailing beats of the rhythm section by drummer Casey Lewis and bassist Ian “The Baker” Maki that braid through the raging guitar flusters of Jimmy James and Verminus. The band also show pop metal fuses igniting tracks like “Oso Blanco,” “Wasps to Honey,” and “Life” with rippling dynamics that howl and scourge with the conviction of Judas Priest and the Bulletboys. The band’s punk rock deluges swamp tracks like “Calgary Libre” and “Hostage” with the bonus of having rations of ska fortified registers reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The brooding voicing of lead vocalist Jenny From Le Bloc shows staunch conviction even in the country-toned “Security.” The steam train rhythms of “Security” produce an old-time country smoke with tendrils of folksy harmonica fastened to a strong upbeat tempo. The ditty “The White Bear Blues” is the band’s rendition of guitar riffs drenched in grit-blues. The band’s country-blues moldings are legitimate and show a melodic side to The Martyr Index.
The Martyr Index identify their music as revolution rock on the band’s official website. It is music that believes in the power of change. The band is offering Molotov Rocktail as a free download on their myspace site, thereby bypassing the music industry establishment and putting control in the hands of the people.