At first blush local Like A Martyr’s debut album The North sounds like another standard hard-rock schlock product that sticks around for a while, eventually imploding, never to be heard from again. But first impressions can be wrong. In this day of countless colour-by-numbers acts cluttering up the airwaves, straight-up unapologetic hard rock can be hit or miss at best, but Like A Martyr have guts and could be on to something. While not necessarily my cup of gravy, Like A Martyr have a strong album with The North. Opening with the tough-as-nails and dirt-caked “Elizabeth,” the band waste no time in grabbing hold of your inner rocker; while the lovely, darkly themed lovely track “Empires Fall” offers very real introspection. All in all, this music is a little bit of southern fried blues, swimming in a sea of hooky hard rock goodness. Like A Martyr have created an album that brings to mind barroom fights, summertime drinking and tawdry love affairs with fast women; by means of a lyrical content that suggests a more self actualized and sensitive viewpoint. While not smashing down any great musical walls, The North is well polished, skillfully played and confident. This is good time hard rock at its best, and for a first effort, a mighty tip of the hat is in order.