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Judgement Day: Circumcision of The Martyr 1994-2000

Judgement Day is a Death/Thrash Metal group out of the Netherlands. They formed back in 1988, and called it a day back in 2005. Over the years the musical entity had a revolving door of members, having a total of nine former musicians, and five active ones before calling it a day. During this time, they issued a couple demo recordings, two splits, two EPs (but possibly a third), and two full-length albums. Their final recording, 40 Minutes to Impact, was issued by New Aeon Media, but many sites claiming the band’s last known label was Karmageddon Media. While it’s just shy of ten years since that release, Vic Records has picked up a slew of new material for a compilation called Circumcision of The Martyr 1994-2000, a two-disc set, of which I was only sent the first (and no, disc two isn’t a DVD, which I’m aware violates the point of this series but oh well, deal with it).

According to the accompanying press release, this set includes material from their 1994 debut album Circumcision of the Martyr (or Cir-Cum-Cis-Ion of the Mar-Tyr if you want to get overly technical about it). It also contains their 2000 promo Gothcrusher, a release I can’t find any information on other than a entry here with the same track listing. This all makes up the first disc, while the second is comprised of various other split and EP tracks from throughout the band’s career. Since it’s pretty hard to find most, if not all of these releases on-line without atleast breaking the bank on your wallet, this already seems like a nice little collection of songs, especially considering the six from a recording that literally doesn’t seem to exist.

This collection isn’t the exact original recordings though. All the songs in this two-disc set have been remastered by Frerik Groth of Bibleblack, and the booklet contains a slew of “old and rare” pictures as well (none of which I have seen). But, even remastered, given the impact and influence this band had during their time together and after, it’s a well deserved compilation worth taking a look at. This isn’t the most awe-inspiring of Death and Thrash Metal material to ever be recorded, but one spin makes you realize why they were so influential, especially given the heavy bass presence that does highlight a hint of early Death and Progressive Metal similar to later era Death.

One of the most memorable from the Circumcisions of the Martyr is “Sexual Intercourse,” the album’s fastest offering that brings a good deal of commanding intensity with it, especially in the chaotic guitar solo that is really well done and may very implore you to stand up and applaud it. But, faster songs like it are really limited. For the most part this recording is composed of slower to mid-tempo performances with a good deal of tight, technical chords being used. “Invincible Downfall” manages to segway out of some crushing, dismal passages into a glorious sensation naturally. It does carry a restricted sensation, as if being forced to trudge along until the four minute mark where it has a hint of Black Metal intensity and speed laced with Death Metal fury that makes it all worth going through.

The tracks that make up the Gothcrusher EP are rather different. Right away some of the analog bite that existed is gone, replaced with a crisp digital sound that is deeper and much heavier in the bass. The guttural vocals are also pulled more to the forefront. Aside that, some of the Progressive technicality is lost for blunt aggression, as well as a little melody. It isn’t that bad a change though, as there are still plenty of catchy tracks that will have you banging your head along, but are just more typical than their earlier creations. “A Soul so Pure” is infectious enough without catering to many hooks, and “2012 A.D.” has a good run of intricate guitar work against the strong clicks of the pounding bass drums. “March of the Apocalypse” is a great change of pace to wrap things up with, plodding along to weave a truly burdening instrumental performance, though it definitely feels more like it should be an interlude, leading up to a some kind of explosion of energy and violence than outright ending things.

While I haven’t had the opportunity to check out the second disc, the first brings together a rare debut album, and what appears to be a long-lost EP that, alone, is worth the price of admission. If the second disc is anywhere near as enjoyable as this, then consider it a bonus. The only thing really lacking here is some kind of biography DVD or an interview of the band, even various conversations shot at different locations discussing the history of the group on video, or just audio from a phone call or even a Skype conversation. There might be somemthing like it in text form in the booklet, but I don’t know since I don’t have the factory pressed version to comment on. If you haven’t heard Judgement Day, or just can’t afford some of the on-line prices for these two recordings, Circumcision of the Martyr 1994-2000 is a very nice compilation of history out of the Netherlands that Vic Records has put together.

I know I wouldn’t mind getting this one as a stocking stuffer this Christmas…

Disc One:
01. Horror Pain – 7:34
02. Daily Rituals… – 4:34
03. The Old Tree – 8:02
04. Sexual Intercourse – 5:37
05. Invincible Downfall – 8:07
06. Clouds of Mordor – 4:11
07. Pathology of Crowding – 6:56
08. Near Death Experience – 4:11
09. A Soul so Pure – 4:14
10. 2012 A.D. – 4:23
11. Obliterate – 4:50
12. Final Judgement – 3:53
13. March of the Apocalypse – 2:03

Disc Two:
not available

Initial Pressing Score: not available

Judgement Day
Judgement Day

Digital review copy of this release provided by Vic Records.