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Old February 18th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
Srontgorrth
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Encounter the Monolith thoughts

So now that some of us have had time to digest and listen to the album a few times, what do you all think of it?

The first couple times I listened to it, it seemed pretty good, but not all that amazing, asides from the title track. After that however, it started really sinking in, all of the different riffs, instruments etc. Very tight and consistent playing, without sounding robotic-ish and overall it is a really damn awesome album.
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Old February 18th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey dude thanks for the kind words!
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Old February 19th, 2010, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm really enjoying this! The first two tracks are both great, especially "Heywood R Floyd". Just awesome.
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Old February 20th, 2010, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Found this review on http://autothrall.blogspot.com.


Martriden - Encounter the Monolith (2010)
I was immediately transfixed to the cover image of Martriden's sophomore effort, Encounter the Monolith, for the comic book meets Arthur C. Clarke aesthetic it inspired within me. But having little to no recollection of their debut The Unsettling Dark, I was not sure what to expect of the contents. Montana is not a place I tend to associate with a strong metal scene, though its low population seems perfect for the isolation required of more extreme acts that fall into the black metal, black/folk or ambient spheres. Lo and behold, Martriden offer living proof that the bluffs and woodlands do in fact shelter such monstrous imaginations, for this album is like a juggernaut from out of nowhere, that lifts you by the neck into the cosmos and then dashes your brains out against the nearest planets, asteroids and moons, at the same time hammering your brain with the hidden lore of the universe.

Style wise, they merge massive death metal rhythms with sneering black rasp vocals, all the while fashioning a symphony against the black landscape which smells with glorious atmosphere. We're talking birth and end of the galaxy all at once here, for their tones imply both space opera and science. Encounter the Monolith indeed...a journey of crushing weights offset with astounding segues of lightness, jerking the emotions of your insignificant human life down to the trilobites from which your distant racial memory has bloomed. The production of this album is simply unreal, superior to most recordings from far more cash-endowed, famous bands. It sounds like it was recorded on a bigger budget than something like Fear Factory or Mnemic, and yet features some of the similar, mechanical rambling in the giant, chugging rhythms. That is not to say there is any nu-metal or cheapened groove here, it's all presented like a body of rock rolling through space, sure to bring doom to any terrestrial body it meets.

The musicianship, while competent, is never showy or flatulent. Each bass and guitar line, each drum fill, all complement the darkness of the track between them, as do the synths, which glare into the firmament to provide a theatrical score to the titan-like movements of this cosmic bodies. There are six tracks and 45 minutes of music, so expect more than your share of drawn out material. To Martriden's credit, though, they make every moment so involving that the time will simply pass on by, sweat gathering on your brow as you feel like you've just witnessed first contact with your Creator. All of this praise having passed my digits, I do feel that the band does often lack in the truly memorable songwriting department. There are many solid, constituent riffs, and certainly the sum of these = full immersion to the experience, but few that I'd point out as 'you HAVE to hear this'. My favorites would probably be "The Three Metamorphoses" and the title track, but there is nothing here that lacks effort or full conviction to the ideals of the band's higher mysteries.

I keep wanting to circle the sun with all manner of interstellar metaphors, but coming back in to earth for a landing, I feel compelled to offer the bottom line: Martriden is a great fucking band, and we have very few acts here in America that can create such a gripping hybrid of black and death metal in such hi fidelity sound. Raw, primal kvlt black metal this is not, but an outburst of modernized vision from which the musical genre is but the larval stage. If Galactus started a metal band inspired by the novels of Clarke or other sci-fi isolation luminaries, it would probably sound like this one...just imagine that.

Highlights: Colossal shapes crashing and careening through a vacuum.

Verdict: Win [8.75/10]
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 05:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Another Review:

http://keepitmetal.com/blog/2010/02/...-review-9-610/

Martriden Ė Encounter The Monolith (2010) Review 9.8/10
February 22, 2010 by Logan
Filed under Black Metal, Death Metal, Featured, Keep it Metal, Melodic Black Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Reviews
2 Comments
Martriden came out of nowhere (Montana) in 2006 with a self produced album that sounded about as clean as any death metal album I'd heard before. The album will filled with awesome riffing and the tracks rocked. Some of my old "Logan's Inbox" videos used their riffs as intro music (I sent them a GPU as a "thank you").

Their second CD was cleaner but I didn't think it was a catchy or as fun as the first. It was more epic and a clear progression. Now we have Encounter the Monolith. This is their most epic work to date. First, here is what the band had to say about it:

"We feel it contains some of the most brutal, epic, and perhaps most importantly, the most interesting bits of music we've put together. We are confident that it is the best collection of songs we've composed!"

I don't want to let them review their own work but that's a really good way to sum it up. I also want to note that they did everything themselves from the recording to the cover artwork (done by Shane Howard).

This CD is extremely epic and dynamic. There are some more progressive moments as well. The guitars will soar for a while and then we will come to an eerie calm. They incorporates strictly for the purpose of atmosphere, and there is a hell of a lot of atmosphere here. There is absolutely no cheesy moments on this album.

It's almost hard to categorize. Before I would call them death metal and be done with it. Now there are a lot of progressive and melodic elements. If I had a gun to my head I would classify them as "blackened melodic death metal" (and the killer would be forced to shoot himself!).

The songs are more of a journey than before. Most are around 7 - 10 minutes in length and they do not get repetitive. This material is much more interesting than what they did on their last two albums (not that they are bad). You really just have to listen to it. I'd recommend if for just about anyone who likes metal.

Let me know how you like it.

Check out some samples on their evil myspace page: ..LINK..

"Encounter the Monolith" track listing:

1. The Three Metamorphoses 08:21
2. Heywood R. Floyd 08:42
3. Discovery 07:02
4. Human Error? 04:32
5. Encounter the Monolith 06:32
6. Death and Transfiguration 10:08
Total playing time 45:00

There has been a lot of insanely good music coming out this year and this is right up there with the best of it.

9.8/10
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 05:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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another: http://dontcountonitreviews.blogspot...-monolith.html

Friday, February 19, 2010
Martriden - Encounter The Monolith




Expansive and Precise.

Martriden is a melodic black metal band from Montana. "Encounter The Monolith" is their second album, following up the promising "The Unsettling Dark." This new album improves upon everything on that debut record and expands upon it with near razor precision at song-writing.
As already stated, "Encounter The Monolith" expands upon the sound of the debut. These changes have moved the band into more progressive and technical territory, combined with their melodic style. While the previous record contained 10 songs, this record only contains 6 tracks, with many surpassing 5 minutes in length.
Opener, The Three Metamorphoses, starts things off with a bang. Starting fast and powerful and sounding like it was modeled after Emperor and Opeth. This track is most definitely an extreme metal song that moves through melodic black metal riffs as well as melancholic clean guitar parts that create an ebb and flow vibe to the song. Though this track exceeds 8 minutes, it doesn't feel that long, the band showcases some good song-writing abilities by focusing the overall sound on melodic and catchy riffs and fast drumming patterns while the vocals remain in the black metal vain. The guitars mainly stay within the black metal realm throughout most of the song, but moves into a bit of death metal during it's later moments. The final lines in the song are are the most melodic on the track, and acts as a small moment to breathe before the next track.
Heywood R. Floyd is a monster of a track, being rooted within more of a technical death metal sound more than black metal. This track exhibits more of a groove over melody, changing the pace. The bass is especially prominent in this track, displaying a similar style to Jeroen Paul Thesseling from Obscura. As the track progresses, it gradually becomes more and more of a progressive track, the use of keyboards to enhance the overall vibe of the track, giving it an epic feel. Guitar solos are littered throughout this track and bring that Opethian approach to this song. The drums are also especially creative throughout, using a lot of fills and different patterns to make the song less repetitive, while also adding to that progressive atmosphere.
Discovery is a track that brings more of a traditional sounding black metal approach to the table. The overall vibe from this song bring to mind the new Dark Fortress record, having a very catchy and accessible riff while still remains very technical and melodic. The melody on this track is undeniable and will instantly latch into your head. Nothing new is really demonstrated on this track that differs too much from the first 2 songs, but is still a good listen.
The fourth track, Human Error, follows a similar style to the previous, being less exploitative while demonstrating a different style. This track has a style that has much more in common with technical death metal more than the black metal style of the last track. This track does feature some cool atmospheric keyboards in the background. Being the shortest track on the album, it demonstrates that Martriden can write shorter, almost traditional songs while still showing a unique take on something old.
The title-track is the follows next. This track is much more of an epic and atmospheric type of death metal song. Being a little slower than previous tracks allows the track a little more breathing room for the atmosphere to enhance the overall feel of the song. Clean vocals are first demonstrated on this song. Some more progressive phases come in and out of the song, making this track a particular highlight on this record. This track stands out among the rest due to it's overall slower and melancholic atmosphere, something that the band has not attempted on a song yet.
The final track is the 10 minute epic, Death and Transfiguration. This track shows a definitive reference to Opeth's sound as well as elements of Katatonia and Agalloch are experimented with on this track. The atmosphere blends well with the dark sound of the guitars and the more poly-rhythmic drumming patterns. The keyboards even seem to explore a bit of the 70's mellotron that Opeth has used so much in their sound. The use of more clean guitars come in about half way through the track, bringing in the Katatonia and Agalloch touches to the sound. Being very solemn and doomy without moving into doom territory, they are able to express a lot in this beautiful section before moving back into more epic metal sections. Although exploring a lot within this song, it is an instrumental track, showcasing the talent of these musicians.
Overall, this record has really impressed me a lot. Coming from a band that put out a solid debut record, that although was good, didn't really show anything new, and coming back only two years later with something fresh and unique sounding. While this record isn't entirely a new style, it is the best I've heard a band move forward within one record to another and develop their sound so fully. This record is one that people should hear, this band will appeal to fans of any of the band's mentioned above.

Overall Score: 9.5

Highlights: Every track is a highlight
Posted by maskofgojira at 9:33 PM
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 04:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Just on my 3rd listen now. This album fits my tastes perfectly. Whilst I've loved your previous releases I'm glad you have upped the epic on this one, these songs have a real space and weight to them. It's definately the best thing you have done yet. This is going to be a great album to get lost in.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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While I haven't listened to the album enough to fully comment on it yet (I write a review for sputnikmusic.com when I have), I would like to point out that you guys really know how to do outros well. Keep it up!
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Old February 24th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?albumid=47820

4.5/5.0

Summary: Martriden's 2010 release is a great example of what a band can do when they're not bound by a label. Striking a delicate balance between progressive and black, "Encounter The Monolith" marks a highlight for the year.

I'm starting my tenth listen of Martriden's newest release, “Encounter The Monolith”, and I'm still not sure what to expect. Only two official releases and one EP into their career, and Martriden have released an opus that pushes the limits of what “metal” is to be considered as. The songwriting and work put into this release is blatantly apparent, to the point where reviewing this becomes so much more than stating my opinion. You see, Martriden write music that, in cases such as “Human Error?”, feel more worthy of a concert hall attended by society's high life than a simple “concert”.

But enough of that, let's get to the music. As you read this review, you're either forming one of two questions. For the majority of metal heads, it will be: “What's Martriden?”. A smaller group of you will be asking “How does this compare to their EP?”. Martriden is a band that really can't be classified. “The Unsettling Dark” was a definite blackened album, while their self titled EP and “Encounter The Monolith” switch styles with such fluidity and prose that they really can't be fixed to any number of labels. One thing that they definitely are not is boring. Hailing from the snow steeped, far flung reaches of... Montana, United States, this group of talented musicians and composers are again doing what they do best, releasing complex and mind-boggling metal.

“Encounter the Monolith” marks Martriden's departure from Candlelight records, who released their debut full length. This also sees them returning to what they do best, writing a small amount songs, and instilling in each of them a constant state of metamorphosis. Although this album contains only six tracks, there is not a moment in this 45.2 minute release that I ever considered pushing that skip button. Since Martriden has gone with songs averaging seven minutes in length, the tracks switch styles and moods, swinging like a multi-faceted pendulum through waves of stylistic changes. For example, “Heywood R. Floyd” starts off with a delicious, death metal styled section, complete with tight riffing and drumming. At 1:24 enters into some of their signature riffing, the kind that really gets the listener nodding along. But before all this heaviness could become even remotely close to overbearing, the 2:20 brings along with it a delicious interlude, complete with an interesting guitar lead. Martriden's ability to keep up rigorous stops and starts in their style like this is a hallmark achievement.

This is by no means an “easy listen”. Although it makes no attempt to be the fastest, loudest, or most offensive band, the sheer complexity of their songwriting is daunting. Probably the most direct song here is “Human Error?”, but one that is far from a low point. This song features some drop dead beautiful use of keyboards, the kind that makes the listener pause in whatever it is that he or she is doing, and take in the moment. None of the songs on here feature solos, and although this may be a rarity in the metal styles, they are never really missed here. Nothing else on this album yields to the norms of the metal community, and the lack of solos just makes this striating effect even more obvious.

One of the best parts of this album may be the fact that Martriden tries things in this album that just plain haven't been heard before. One great example of this is the sliding sound usually heard when a guitarist slides his or her hand across the strings, usually heard when the guitarist is trying to switch chords quickly. This is actually used in the song “The Three Metamorphoses”, and instead of just being a mistake in the production, it undergoes its own evolution throughout the song. Another personal favorite of mine is the title track where towards the end, they enter into their fade-out. Or at least, that's what it seems like. Perfectly timed to the speed at which “lame fade-out” syndrome becomes eminent, the drums latch onto a beat, and fade back in, bringing the guitars with them. Moments like these are plentiful and perfectly placed throughout the album, and used in a manner that will keep this album feeling new and inventive for a long time to come.

The drummer has always been a personal highlight for me, and after his stunning performance in their EP, I was eager to hear him in this release. Although he doesn't gain the spotlight like he has in the past, anything more than just a casual listen will reveal just how talented and skillful he is. The guitars don't hold the “jazzy” feel that songs like “The Art of Death Infernal” featured, but still remain a tad catchier than most metal offerings of this day and age. The vocalist may be the hardest to place. Sticking mainly to the black metal rasp, he throws in his own variations that are really just to hard to describe with words.

To close off this review, Martriden has released an album that absolutely cannot be missed by anyone, really. Not just holding appeal for metal heads, “Encounter the Monolith” transcends mere musical classifications, combines jazz, metal, orchestra, opera, and more into a manifesto of modern death metal.

Pros:
Excellent production
Depth of the album
50 min long, and never gets old

Cons:
Can take a few listens to “get into to”
Will make listening to other albums painful
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Old February 24th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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"Will make listening to other albums painful"



And hey, if you guys have a rateyourmusic, make sure to rate Encounter The Monolith: http://rateyourmusic.com/release/alb..._the_monolith/
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Old February 25th, 2010, 03:10 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just a note, that Sputnik review isn't my one. I might still do one anyway.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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After reading these, the wait becomes even harder!
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Old February 25th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Still hasen't arrived? Do customs take that long for things to go through?
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Old February 26th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, I didn't preorder it... my buddy ordered it for me sometime last week because I still boycott Paypal entirely.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I finally got the album on Tuesday, so far I had the time to listen to it twice.
And it's just starting to sink in... there is alot to digest here and I feel like I'm gonna explore and enjoy this opus of yours for a long time to come.

Great work, you definitely have delivered and improved again!
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Old March 6th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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So are you guys just self releasing everything from now on? this album is too good, you need to be on a decent label!
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Old March 6th, 2010, 07:54 PM   #17 (permalink)
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http://www.metalpsalter.com/review_m..._monolith.html

5/5

Martriden hails from the cold, dismal, dark wastelands of…Montana. While it might seem I’m taking the piss out of them for that, I’m sincere in saying that of late this is the second band I’ve encountered from Montana that is pretty damn impressive. Whatever they’re putting in the water out there, pass some of it to Chicago, would ya? The Encyclopedia Metallum describes them as a black/death hybrid, which is a decent attribution, though I’m not so sure about the black metal tag. Honestly, while the vocal delivery is “black” in form, the comparison might well stop there and drift more into the arena of technical death/thrash ala Control Denied perhaps. Any way you wish to label them they’re just amazing!

Usually when I see keyboards in any band I’m a bit put off (yes, very discriminatory I admit), but Kyle Howard doesn’t try to be Jordan Rudess; as a background accompaniment the keys are a nice round-out to an already thick wall of sound. Also engaging is the topic of the band’s latest CD, Encounter the Monolith, which centers around space-cosmos-galaxy compositions, which the music perfectly describes! The song “Heywood R. Floyd,” a composition about the Space 2001 Odyssey character, and the musical landscape is nothing short of brilliant! I rarely ever say something is brilliant, but this song is an absolute movement of the mind and soul. When you engage with a song like this it’s worth your valuable time to tap into your imagination’s reserve and sift through the debris for something to help cart you through the voyage. Nevermore does that for me and Martriden has taken me on a similar journey. I can honestly say I would pick up this CD and enjoy it far more than the last three or four Dream Theater albums, but hey, that’s just me.

As I said, Michael Cook’s vocals can be deemed black metal if you so desire such a tagline, but for my money the harsh delivery is just that - harsh vocal delivery. While I can seriously entertain the volume of proponents for the BM label, I will go on public record here and now and state that if this is black metal it has to be one of the best offerings in the genre since Vinterland’s Welcome My Last Chapter, which is my favorite black metal album of all time! Encounter the Monolith is one of the CD’s I plan on bringing with me this week when my friend and I venture to a record store up north. I am dying for him to hear this CD by one hell of a band. I’m proud to be able to claim these guys as one of our own - the U.S. sorely needs solid metal acts to keep us in the fray at times.

The entire CD is a standout, but the aforementioned “Heywood R. Floyd,” “Discovery,” and “Human Error” are brutally powerful songs, yet all the while they retain a very technical side rarely implemented properly by many bands today. The production on this is an “A” effort all around, and I’m suddenly a casual fan of some keyboards in my music. If Martiden can sell me on keyboard work, then how can I not highly hail them?

Do yourself the biggest favor and spend your money wisely this week - buy the band’s CD and be amazed. I hope these guys put out a few more albums like this one, because if they do you’ll be hearing about them on a much grander scale than my simple praises.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 08:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I like that review.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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http://www.waytooloud.com/2010/03/10...he-monolith-2/

Enveloped in a silky swirl of mild orchestra as you begin the album, you’re lured into a false sense of serenity. Confronted suddenly by the raspy black metal vocal style and fury of the rest of the band, you’re aware that this CD, which is by a small group of guys from Montana (of all places), sounds better than a lot of the ‘big budget’ albums you may hear on any given day. This isn’t a piece of music created in someone’s garage, recorded through a string with a tin can on the end. The clarity and depth of the music created by this quartet should be beyond their means. One wonders if the album didn’t fall from space like the monolith they speak of, it’s purpose in creation only to make your ears bleed. It certainly feels to the listener like you’re floating next to them through space as they furiously hammer out all 6 tracks, one after the other. After only 45 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve been to the edges of the universe.

Anyone who’s heard Martriden before will have a good idea what to expect from “Encounter the Monolith”, with the same relentless pace and fury found on 2008’s “The Unsettling Dark“. the band shows improvement all around except for in one category, which is memorability. “The Unsettling Dark” had so many well-constructed songs and memorable riffs that you would hear them playing in your head days later, whereas there are times throughout “Encounter the Monolith” where Martriden could be a bit more concise. The songs don’t meander, and you certainly won’t be bored as you listen, but you may find that you’ll think you’ve heard this already and you’re ready to move on. “Encounter the Monolith”’s tracks are a bit longer on average, with only 6 tracks, instead of the 10 on their previous effort, so maybe that’s where the difference lies. The fade-out at the end of the third track “Discovery” is a perfect example, as the band plays the same passage for almost a minute before fading out and never tying things up. As the last track of an album or EP this ending would be welcome, in fact it would be nice if they extended it! But as the third of six tracks, the fade-out seems like they just couldn’t think of any other way to do it.

The title track, “Encounter the Monolith” is the best example of where the band shines. The song, second-to-last on the CD and the second-shortest on the album, is also the slowest. at only six and a half minutes long, it ends a little prematurely at about 5 minutes in with a fade-out before another short mini-song kicks in and throws you lightyears in the other direction. Finishing off the album is “Death and Transfiguration”, a 10+ minute exercise in letting yourself float in the vacuum of space. It’s also another excellent example of the musicianship and meticulous playing by this herculean young group. Right from the opening second of “Encounter the Monolith” you’re reminded that this album is one of the best things to come out of Montana since Zephram Cochrane built The Phoenix. And would you look at that, they’re both headed for the Staaaaaaaaars! (Sorry.)

Rating 4/5

Released February 10, 2010
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 03:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Martriden's third release Encounter the Monolith sees the band separating ties with Candlelight Records and putting the CD out on their own. This hasn't proved to be much of a distraction, as the band from Montana continues to push the boundaries of extreme metal, proving that The Unsettling Dark was by no means a fluke. Encounter the Monolith (great title by the way) features only 6 songs, each of near epic length, and features such a wide variety of styles that it's almost impossible to classify the band. There's more of a reliance on black metal and progressive metal flavors here, though the death metal presence remains the foundation.

Thoughtful lyrics, bone crunching guitars, and powerful keyboards make up the killer track "Heywood R. Floyd", a tune that will please those into the more 'progressive' sounds of the genre, especially the atmospheric & symphonic middle section. "The Three Metamorphoses" is crushing extreme metal, complete with plenty of complex passages, and "Discovery" starts off as an epic doom piece before the bands blasts into black metal hyperdrive. Michael Cook's gargled wailings here are perfect-once again, this is an extreme metal singer who is quickly becoming one of the best in the business, and it's time for people to take notice. "Human Error" is almost 'catchy' in a way, and the CDs shortest cut at just over 4 minutes, and the title track is a boiling, symphonic cauldrom of varied metal styles, steeped in atmosphere and dramatic energy. The closing 10-minute epic "Death and Transfiguration" show Martriden at their creative best, as they take the listener through a winding journey of moods, tones, and textures, much like classic Opeth, that never fails to envelope your senses. Layered guitar riffs, intricate drum fills, soaring keyboards, and haunting atmosphere-it's all here on this memorable instrumental that closes out this stunning CD.

I'm still not sure why Martriden isn't 'the most talked about extreme metal band' out there right now. Let's face it, these guys are creating music that's leagues more interesting, powerful, and creative than most bands who reside on the major metal labels rosters these days. If you really want to dig into some 'progressive extreme metal', then do yourself a favor and check out Encounter the Monolith. It's certain to be one of the best releases you'll hear this year. Trust me.


Track Listing
1. The Three Metamorphoses
2. Heywood R. Floyd
3. Discovery
4. Human Error?
5. Encounter The Monolith
6. Death and Transfiguration

Added: March 21st 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score: 4.5/5
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 89
Language: english
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Old March 26th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #21 (permalink)
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If Galactus & Arthur C. Clarke started jamming... - 87%
Written by autothrall on February 20th, 2010


I was immediately transfixed to the cover image of Martriden's sophomore effort, Encounter the Monolith, for the comic book meets Arthur C. Clarke aesthetic it inspired within me. But having little to no recollection of their debut The Unsettling Dark, I was not sure what to expect of the contents. Montana is not a place I tend to associate with a strong metal scene, though its low population seems perfect for the isolation required of more extreme acts that fall into the black metal, black/folk or ambient spheres. Lo and behold, Martriden offer living proof that the bluffs and woodlands do in fact shelter such monstrous imaginations, for this album is like a juggernaut from out of nowhere, that lifts you by the neck into the cosmos and then dashes your brains out against the nearest planets, asteroids and moons, at the same time hammering your brain with the hidden lore of the universe.

Style wise, they merge massive death metal rhythms with sneering black rasp vocals, all the while fashioning a symphony against the black landscape which smells with glorious atmosphere. We're talking birth and end of the galaxy all at once here, for their tones imply both space opera and science. Encounter the Monolith indeed...a journey of crushing weights offset with astounding segues of lightness, jerking the emotions of your insignificant human life down to the trilobites from which your distant racial memory has bloomed. The production of this album is simply unreal, superior to most recordings from far more cash-endowed, famous bands. It sounds like it was recorded on a bigger budget than something like Fear Factory or Mnemic, and yet features some of the similar, mechanical rambling in the giant, chugging rhythms. That is not to say there is any nu-metal or cheapened groove here, it's all presented like a body of rock rolling through space, sure to bring doom to any terrestrial body it meets.

The musicianship, while competent, is never showy or flatulent. Each bass and guitar line, each drum fill, all complement the darkness of the track between them, as do the synths, which glare into the firmament to provide a theatrical score to the titan-like movements of this cosmic bodies. There are six tracks and 45 minutes of music, so expect more than your share of drawn out material. To Martriden's credit, though, they make every moment so involving that the time will simply pass on by, sweat gathering on your brow as you feel like you've just witnessed first contact with your Creator. All of this praise having passed my digits, I do feel that the band does often lack in the truly memorable songwriting department. There are many solid, constituent riffs, and certainly the sum of these = full immersion to the experience, but few that I'd point out as 'you HAVE to hear this'. My favorites would probably be "The Three Metamorphoses" and the title track, but there is nothing here that lacks effort or full conviction to the ideals of the band's higher mysteries.

I keep wanting to circle the sun with all manner of interstellar metaphors, but coming back in to earth for a landing, I feel compelled to offer the bottom line: Martriden is a great fucking band, and we have very few acts here in America that can create such a gripping hybrid of black and death metal in such hi fidelity sound. Raw, primal kvlt black metal this is not, but an outburst of modernized vision from which the musical genre is but the larval stage. If Galactus started a metal band inspired by the novels of Clarke or other sci-fi isolation luminaries, it would probably sound like this one...just imagine that.

Highlights: Colossal shapes crashing and careening through a vacuum.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com
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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:22 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I have been following Martriden's career since their 2006 debut EP, and I thought their debut album The Unsettling Dark was a startlingly musical slab of feral aggression. This, their second full-length release, already shows Martriden pushing against the boundaries of their chosen genre and striving to create original, interesting music. Encounter the Monolith is not at all what I expected, but is a fascinating sophomore album nonetheless.

The musicianship and the maturity of the songwriting is really noticeable here, as without leaving their aggression or heaviness behind Martriden have created music that is always surprising and much deeper than it appears at first glance. I would call this progressive, but the playing is never showy, and the band's restraint and tact in the use of their individual instruments is really a pleasure. Nobody showboats or takes over the stage, and the band creates a really unified sound with the melding of their instruments. You get that sense, so rare these days, of a band working together, vibing off one another in the studio and feeding that group energy into the music. Martriden are still a Death/Black band, but not in the usual sense, as rather than just playing downtuned Black blasting they use Death rhythms and riff-patterns with an uptuned BM sound and big, melodic compositional style that recalls bands as diverse as Sear Bliss and Septicflesh. It is really difficult to pin down any other band to compare this to, as really Martriden have combined elements of extreme metal in ways that are new, or at least underused, creating a sound that is familiar on the surface, but unique in detail.

At first spin I thought this was not as good as The Unsettling Dark, as it is more sprawling and less aggressive, but repeated listens opened up the complexity and the satisfying depths of this disc. Martriden are a band to watch, as they are not content to simply tread water and do what is expected of them. This is a band determined to push the envelope, and there could well be greatness in store. This band is already doing great things, but a band this ambitious will not be content with that.

Label: Independent
Year released: 2010
Duration: 45:00
Tracks: 6
Genre: Death/Black

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: March 26, 2010
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Martriden - Encounter the Monolith
http://www.martridenrocks.com/home.html

Martriden is EASILY the greatest thing to come out of Montana since my wife's family. In fact, I've been known, on numerous occasions, to proclaim that Martriden is the greatest new band to enter the metal scene within the last 5 years, period. Their debut EP, the self-titled "Martriden," is still one of the best CDs I have the great fortune to call a part of my collection. Even at only 4 tracks, it blows most metal out of the water in terms of technicality, brutality and sweeping grandeur. Not since Opeth's "Orchid" or Insomnium's "In the Halls of Awaiting" have I heard a debut album with so much talent. Most bands have to develop an entire career and release a few albums before they finally find their groove! And even when they do, very few bands can still exceed themselves with each subsequent release. (Opeth was on the upward climb until "Watershed," in my opinion, and Insomnium, unfortunately, never improved beyond what they started with--which is still fucking impressive; don't get me wrong).

Martriden's first full length album, "The Unsettling Dark," proved that they had the musical talent to meet and exceed the high standard they set for themselves with their incredible EP, and their second album, "Encounter the Monolith," somehow, seemingly impossibly, goes even further. Since I always compare them to Opeth, I'll illustrate with a comparison: Opeth's first two albums were mind-blowing in terms of guitar technicality and atmosphere. Then, when Opeth hired bassist Martin Mendez and drummer Martin Lopez for their third album, "My Arms, Your Hearse," they defied all expectations of metal--not just their own genre, but all of metaldome, as a musical entity!--by blending jazz-influenced bass and drums to their already exceedingly-progressive style.

"Encounter the Monolith" is Martriden's figurative "MAYH." This is the album that will push them into legendary territory and redefine our expectations of metal entirely. I haven't been this impressed with a new band in a long time.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 11:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I finally got a hold of the new Martriden album. For those of you that donít know about this band, donít feel bad Ė theyíre more or less underground, although itís becoming quite clear that they are gaining in popularity. Encounter the Monolith, released in February, is Martridenís 6-track follow-up to the bandís 2008 album, The Unsettling Dark. I have to admit, that album is one of my favorite albums, so a follow-up album would already be at a disadvantage in my mind because of the pedestal that I put The Unsettling Dark on.

Monolith is just as blistering and intricate as Dark, but at only 6 tracks it kind of left me wanting a bit more at first. I can understand why there are only 6 tracks though Ė each song is essentially an epic masterpiece, oscillating back and forth between melodic and heavy. I happen to love that kind of writing style because it makes the heavy seem heavier, and the melodic seem more melodious. The final track by itself, Death and Transfiguration, is an instrumental coming in at over 10 minutes long, but my favorite tracks are probably The Three Metamorphoses and Encounter the Monolith.

Iím no science-fiction master, but itís pretty clear that Monolith draws inspiration from movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and philosphers like Friedrich Nietzsche. If I had to describe the theme of the album, I would say itís a cross between the story of mankindís evolution and the perception that humans have of themselves of their role in the universe. Listening to this album, I could totally envision this as a way better soundtrack to 2001.

In sum, Martriden fans will definitely want to pick up this album and will most likely love it. I was a little skeptical at first of the fact that there were only 6 songs (at around 45 minutes total), but at a price of $7.99 (digital), you canít really complain. Besides, the songs are so damned epic and great that you probably wonít even notice.

Overall score: 88/100. (Bump it up to 95 if you have another track or two).
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Old May 7th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #25 (permalink)
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by Mark Hensch

Progression is an attempt to bring the future into the present. Keeping with this idea, Havre, Montana's Martriden test the boundaries of blackened death metal on their sophomore album Encounter the Monolith. Vast in scope, the band's latest recording pushes heavy metal into new stratospheres with a mix of mechanical pummeling and symphonic flourishes. Lyrically speaking, its state of the art assaults are complimented by Nietzschean philosophy as seen in Stanley Kubrick's science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. When combined, these components produce a modern killing machine which evolves brutality far beyond most of Martriden's contemporaries.

The first salvo launched on Encounter the Monolith is "The Three Metamorphoses," a mini-opus which marks a departure from the melodic, blackened death metal of 2008's The Unsettling Dark. Opening with eerie chanting straight out of 2001, the song next erupts into a whirling vortex of blastbeats and tremolo melodies before collapsing into Meshuggah-esque grooves. Following this, the tune drifts into the vacuum of space, reveling in hypnotic drum patterns and angular chords emitted amidst somber choral effects. This in turn ends in tour-de-force when the band lets crushing riffs gradually morph into swelling, triumphant melodies among the best on the album.

"Heywood R. Floyd" is up next, its inhuman guitaring the definition of precision pulverizing. Stabbing harmonies occasionally undercut the aural steamrolling, letting the song explore vistas of cold, stark melody not unlike recent Enslaved. Warm bass notes float beyond driving riffs and wall-of-sound keys, producing an atmosphere of enlightenment found in the deepest space. Though heaviness is the main order of the day, "Heywood" ends with labyrinthine passages heavily influenced by progressive metal and delicate, lush keys.

"Discovery," for its part, launches into icy tremolo lines and blistering percussion. Darker in tone than the aforementioned songs, it chills listeners with an aura akin to an asteroid leaving the sun behind in the depths of outer space. Beyond this, it displays Martriden's hyper-speed capabilities by letting the band stretch out breakneck passages so fast they seem glacial. It's an interesting effect, and one which drives the song into mind-warping territory.

Equally potent is "Human Error?" a song which should slay groove fanatics with ease. Brief in its devastation, the technical wizardry at play in "Error?" wears down eardrums into paste with an unyielding persistence. Buried deep within the chaos are squealing harmonics and glossy melodies, the likes of which counter the massacre with moments of beauty. Sparse and savage, it is the most ferocious cut on the entire album.

In contrast, the gargantuan title track is among the disc's most mesmerizing compositions. Beginning with some stellar death metal, "Monolith" eventually shifts gears entirely by transforming into a soaring passage of psychedelic chugging. Replete with angelic vocals, it marks a rare moment where the ethereal meets the extreme before vanishing again in an onslaught of metal.

The instrumental "Death and Transfiguration" closes things out by gradually unfolding its intricate nuances. Kicking off with soft acoustic notes, it next balloons into organ-laced dissonance before dying down into jazzy meandering. Blasting off with a killer riff, the song next travels through a well-orchestrated microcosm of the previous songs' textures and tones, ending things with a complex summary of the album as a whole.

Equally cerebral and bludgeoning, Encounter the Monolith marks a promising next step in Martriden's continuing progression. Though fans of recent Behemoth, Enslaved, and Meshuggah will all feel at home, Martriden have cultivated a sound which is definitely their own. For anyone who hasn't discovered this fantastic band yet, this is a great place for first contact.

Martriden - Encounter the Monolith

Rating:9.5
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