Given that any creatively bankrupt classic rocker who comes to the Commodore on a Friday night with a billion-dollar bar band in tow is guaranteed to sell the place out, it’s nuts that a local act as beefy and adept as Like a Martyr doesn’t get even a portion of the interest. The full-tilt, no-shit guitar rock on North has the heady feel of first love. Show me any autumn-years hall-of-famer still beating the boards out there who can counterfeit that. AC/DC? Kiss? Chickenfoot?
Please, rock is dead, until a four-piece like this resurrects it by virtue of sheer infatuation and zeal. Which isn’t to underappreciate the songwriting on North. If the wheel is not being reinvented on tracks like the splendidly titled “And by Coffee I Mean Drugs”, Like a Martyr does know how to put together a four-on-the-floor rocker and then kick you in the pants seat with it.
On the more slowly unwinding title track and the melodramatically mid-tempo “Empires Fall” (complete with cello!), Like a Martyr achieves a balance between vocalist Jeremy Allingham’s modern-rock inclinations and guitarist Ben Henthorne’s more Page-like drift. Everywhere else, the sounds are roomy, the tones are classic, and drummer Dom Coletta nails it to the floor like Dimwit back when he was keeping the Four Horsemen on the straight, narrow, and loud.