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Holy Martyr and ‘To Kalesma Sta Opla’

My final story for today is an obscure one, that very few people know about it. One of the most interesting epic metal bands to discover in the early to mid-00s were Holy Martyr (@holymartyrband ). I’d first heard of them when they released ‘Hail To Hellas’ in 2003. If you were in the metal scene during the previous decade and were actively buying or trading, you’ll know that YouTube, Discogs and Bandcamp did not exist and Paypal was unavailable in many places. You would learn of new bands through compilation tapes you’d get from friends or compilation CDs included in magazines, then contact the bands by email. If both parties knew English, you would send the money in bank notes, well-hidden inside the envelope, and you’d patiently wait to get the CD or LP you’d ordered, or you’d be ripped off. Holy Martyr were good. I remember it was late 2005 I had emailed Ivano Spiga (@ivano_spiga ) and had sent him 50€ for the first three Holy Martyr demos (Vis Et Honor was due to be released and I have number 12 of 500), and he’d thrown in a HM t-shirt as well to thank me. It was a very good deal.

It became even better in early 2007, when he contacted me on MySpace (of all places!) to ask for my help in translating one of their songs for the album ‘Hellenic Warrior Spirit’. He sent me an instrumental recording of the song (via MSN Messenger…), and after completing the translation, went at two friends’ place (Kostas T. and Nikos T., and I hope both are well after so many years) to use their PC, in order to record my vocals on the instrumental track. I still have the recording, but it will never see the light of day; I am no singer. Ivano will remember I taught him the word ‘skata’ that day. Regardless, the song was released a year later on that album as ‘To Kalesma Sta Opla’ (‘The Call To Arms’, in Greek), sung excellently by Alex Mereu. I was credited on the album as ‘Ehetlaios’ (alternative form of Echetlaeus), the nickname I was using at the time – the story behind it is for another day. Do check HM out if you haven’t; they are a great band.

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