MARTYR was founded in Utrecht in October 1982 by guitarist Rick Bouwman. His purpose was to create a band with a more American sound which was different than the other Dutch bands who were more sounding in the NWOBHM style. After the band was formed, the guys rehearsed for six months until they released their first demo. The demo with the great title "If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old" didn’t make the band members very happy and even for short while, they thought about quiting with it. Reasons were the bad sound quality, insufficient preparation, line-up changes, etc., etc. A month later the band decided to record another demo, but it had to be under better conditions. So in August 1983, they record a second demo. “Metal Torture” was released and it was the result the band wanted. The demo was sent all over the world. The reactions were very good and their status grew more and more. What band made very unique was their typical sound which you cannot compare with any other band. Especially the guitar sound from Rick was quite special. You can maybe describe it as Randy Rhoads like style with a progressive touch to it. In the meantime, the band replaced singer Robert van Haaren for Gerard Vergouw, a singer with lots of charisma and a great voice. The demo gave the band opportunity to add a song, "Snow and Fire", to the famous Dutch Steel sampler. Although the band was again not happy with the sound, it gave MARTYR another boost.
Dutch label Megaton got interested after the band recorded in 1984 their third six track demo. Megaton signed the band for one MLP. In 1985 the mini-lp “For The Universe”, which was in fact the complete six track demo, was released. What followed was an extensive playing on stage. The band was support act for a lot of bands. The band even played in Germany (together with GRAVESTONE). After some years of promotion in the USA, Metal Blade (finally) noticed the talent of the band and put the song "En Masse" on the Metal Massacre part 6. A next step was to record a full-length LP. After several talks with labels the band decides to sign a deal with a completely new label with big plans and a big budget, called Metalloid. The band start the recordings and after some time their first LP "Darkness At Time’s Edge" was a fact. Unfortunately, the label didn’t fulfil all the promises and got bankrupt. However, the LP got very good reviews in several mags. But due to the problems with Metalloid, the LP didn’t got a good distribution. Of course a big disappointment for the band, but they decided to go on and released four more demos with Addo Kruizenga on vocals. On these demos MARTYR played much more melodic rock rather than the stuff on their records. The band even played some old songs, but in a new version. But the band split up in silence.
In the 90s, Rick Bouwman founded his band MY BROTHER JAKE, which was reasonably successful and he was also in SYRENADE. Drummer Elias Papadopoulos worked in a tattoo shop, singer Gerard Vergouw became a successful lawyer and Toine van der Linden played in several bands. In 2001, the guys were asked to play at the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival. They agreed and so after many years the band did a successful gig with playing all their classics. After this reunion, MARTYR slowly dissapeared again, until High Vaultage records released both the MLP and LP seperated (including bonus tracks). MARTYR was also asked to play at the Keep it True festival in Germany. In April 2005, the band did their second reunion gig at the warm-up party of Keep it True in Lauda-Konigshofen. This was the last show with vocalist Gerard Vergouw. Later on, MARTYR agreed doing another reunion show on Headbangers open Air 2006. Unfortunately, Gerard Vergouw went to Columbia with his wife, so MARTYR had to find another vocalist. In the person of Robert 'Rop' van Haaren - indeed, the first Martyr vocalist - they found a worthy replacement and MARTYR continued to play live ever since. In December 2008, MARTYR supported shock rockers LIZZY BORDEN on their European tour. In 2009 and 2010, they hit the European stages supporting legendary acts, such as FLOTSAM & JETSAM, VICIOUS RUMORS, JAGUAR, EVERGREY and many more. In 2009, the first new MARTYR record in almost twenty-five years was released. The new EP “Fear” was coupled with a re-release of the classic “For The Universe” album as a double digipack on Rusty Cage Records. In 2010 and 2011, MARTYR re-entered the studio between the live shows to work on the follow up to “Fear”. A complete new album, called “Circle Of 8” and the fact, that the band got signed to Metal Blade once again, marked the significant impulse in MARTYR’s revival.
(text conducted by Stefan van Zijl and Toine van Poorten)
Gerard Vergouw - vocals (ex-VANGOUW)
Robert ‘Rop’ van Haren - vocals
Adrian Quinten - vocals
Addo Kruizinga - vocals
Rick Bouwman - guitars
Marcel Heesakkers - guitars
Toine van der Linden - bass (ex-VANGOUW, ex-JEWEL, ex-HOT LEGS)
Guus Riteco - bass
Elias Papadopoulos – drums
Rick Bouwman - guitars
Wilfried Broekman - drums
Rop van Haren - vocals
Marcel Heesakkers- guitars
Toine van der Linden- bass
*If It´s Too Loud, You´re Too Old (Demo 1982)
*Metal Torture (Demo 1983)
*Dutch Steel (compilation LP 1984; track: "Snow And Fire")
*For The Universe (album demos 1984: part 1 with Rop van Haren and part 2 with Adrian Quinten)
*For the Universe (MLP Megaton 1984)
*Metal Massacre VI (compilation LP 1985; track: ”En Masse (Stand Or Die)"
*Darkness At Time's Edge (pre-recordings Demo 1985)
*Darkness At Time's Edge (LP Metalloid 1985)
*The Last One To Run (Demo 1986)
*Raise This Heaven (Demo 1986)
*Coming On To Me (Demo 1987)
*Love On The Line (Demo 1988)
*For The Universe (reissue High Vaultage 2004)
*Fear The Universe (2CD Rusty Cage records 2009)
*Circle Of 8 (CD Metal Blade records 2011)