The best thing about running this website for the last 9 years is that every single day, you receive about 100 records. The worst thing about running this website is that every single day, you receive about 100 records.

What I mean is, you can’t physically listen to all of them, let alone review them, but every so often, one comes along that is so good that it makes it worthwhile.

So, it was last year when I was sitting, waiting for an appointment, going through a playlist of stuff I had been sent but hadn’t listened to (don’t worry, there’s a point to this), and I got to a record by Dom Martin called “A Savage Life.” It was sensational. I had a suspicion that live he’d be even better. He was. It was an overwhelming experience. He pours so much of his life into the songs and even more on stage. This is not so much music as catharsis.

The other thing about running this site is I don’t have to be a critic. I can basically just say: “This music is incredible, here’s why,” and in the case of Dom Martin, it’s incredible because he’s the best at what he does. Hands down and without any shadow of a doubt.

Which is essentially all you need to know about “Buried In The Hail.” It is sensational.

“Hello In There” gives the album a light, airy opening. He often begins his band shows acoustically, does Martin, and that’s the vibe here. The child’s laughter, perhaps, reminds us that all is okay in the world?

Anyone, though, with even the most cursory knowledge of Dom Martin would know that his life wasn’t okay, and that’s why he can find something primal way down deep on “Daylight I Will Find.” “It’s been a long old road to ruin,” he sings. “But daylight I will find.” That redemption comes in music, you know it. As long as he’s got a guitar, he’ll be alright. “Government,” on the other hand, sums up what many of us feel. Let down. Disenfranchised. And there’s a palpable mournful feel to the guitar.

There’s a real feeling of reflection in this collection. Never before has he dug so deep as on “Belfast Blues,” and never before has his voice sounded so intentionally rough.

And if I haven’t said so far that the guitar playing is top-notch, then “Unhinged” would be a good place to start. He grooves here, but there’s another very decent reason for not talking about it. It’s the same when Lionel Messi makes a good pass. It’s not headline news. Dom Martin is the best at this. You almost expect perfection.

There’s a sort of grandiosity here. “The Fall” opens with an acoustic section that sounds almost prog, which contrasts superbly with “Howlin’.” A classic-sounding blues shuffle that’s his tribute to Howlin’ Wolf.

We’ve spoken elsewhere in this review about Dom Martin live. It is an incredible thing, almost draining because of its intensity. The maelstrom that the title cut exists in has a bit of that too, while “Lefty Two Guns” takes the ‘guitar man as a Gunslinger’ thing and runs with it. You can imagine Free, say, doing something similar.

“Laid To Rest” brings the album to a close, almost the bookend for the opener, but on a record where Dom Martin wrote 10 songs, then it’s the one he didn’t that we’ll talk about last. “Crazy” is a world away from Patsy Cline and is instead somewhere between a film noir and a mental episode.

He makes it his own. That’s for sure, and that’s why the obvious comparisons with other Irish Blues players (who can we mean…?) don’t necessarily apply.

He knows his history. He loves the sound, but in years to come, someone will be called the new Dom Martin. What they release, though, is unlikely to be as good as “Buried In The Hail.”

Rating: 9.5/10

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