Monica Strut | Vocals
Ben Rogers | Guitar
Travis Presley | Guitar
Matthew Mumford | Bass
Vin Krishnan | Drums
01 – Into the Black 3:41
02 – Stay Awake 3:45
03 – Fear 3:33
04 – Echoes 3:51
05 – Creatrix 4:39
The Last Martyr are a five piece melodic metal band from Melbourne, Australia. This is their first EP. It comprises the band’s previous singles ‘Into The Black’, ‘Stay Awake’ and ‘Fear’ plus two more songs “Creatrix” and “Echoes”. The band have been getting a significant amount of attention in the USA achieving national radio play. Heidi Shepherd of ‘Butcher Babies’ added them to her ‘Sisters That Slay’ playlist alongside the world’s best female voices in heavy music.
I listened to this EP twice…the first time prior to researching the band…what stands out immediately of course, is the female lead vocals of Monica Strut which are bright, powerful and soaring. Their music has strong powerful guitar and the blast beats are kept to a minimum. “Stay Awake” is slow, especially at the start it has lots of breaks with some mini guitar solos.
“Fear” has another big riff, with chunky bass guitar and female vocal harmonies (presumably multi-layered by Ms Strut). “Echoes” features atmospheric synth approximately half way through -but my notes on the track read “beginning to sound a little samey….”.
The title track closes the EP and has a particularly intricate opening guitar lick. It features (like “Fear”) that still fairly rare thing; a female death metal snarl -before Strut returns to her normal soaring vocal style. It has a distinctly quiet ending, with acapella solo vocal right at the end. “We’re walking contagious if we just try”.
My one little gripe is that the band do rather conform to that perennial show business trope of “glamorous young woman fronting otherwise all male band”. Quite why the best part of half a century after the Runaways were formed (to say nothing of earlier bands like Fanny who achieved significant success), it is still SO rare to see a woman playing electric guitar, (to say nothing about drums), is a question for another publication perhaps. But we also live in a world where (for example) 90% of nurses are women and neither situation seems likely to change anytime soon…. This is hardly something the band themselves (let alone Monica Strut) can be blamed for…but it does grate a little….
But good luck guys (and girl)….maybe this is the beginning of phenomenon and you will be the new “INXS” – in which case I can say “I reviewed them when they were nobody” but for now I can only give this initial offering from you 3 out of 5.