Martriden – Martriden EP
Self-Released – 2006
By Jason Jordan
are an unbelievably talented, upstart band that play an earth-shattering form of symphonic blackened death metal. So if a random sample of metalheads were asked to locate this group’s locale, many would pinpoint a Scandinavian country, some would finger Canada, and a few would direct their attention to one of the death-riddled states in the U.S. Florida? No. New York? No. California? No. Montana? Yes! I bet no one saw that coming. While Montana isn’t exactly known for its crushing metal, Martriden
are trying to change that.
Though there are only 300 copies of the Martriden EP
– which are going quickly, I might add – the group pulled out all the stops to ensure that the visual and aural characteristics of their debut would be of top-notch quality. Unsurprisingly, there’s no Achilles heel among the bunch. Travis Smith (Seempieces
) composed the artwork, Dave Otero (Flatline Audio) recorded, mixed, mastered, and produced the audible portion, and the members of Martriden
didn’t slouch when it came time to lay down their respective, instrumental contributions.
Each of the four tracks spills over the five-minute mark, and two of them even reach seven minutes total. “Blank Eye Stare,” after a brief synth lead-in, batters the listener with intense double-bass drumming, layered guitar acrobatics, and saliva-soiled growls. The production is outstanding as the instruments sound thick and meaty, yet the recording as a whole seems spacious. Some will recall Morbid Angel
in fond recollection, though Martriden
are more melodious than the former and employ a modus operandi similar to the latter – only heavier. Be prepared for the damage-inflicting riffs and rhythms of “The Art of Death Infernal,” which are then juxtaposed with the subtle synthesizer lines. There’s a likeness to Amon Amarth
to be uncovered in “In Death We Burn,” and “Set a Fire in Our Flesh” utilizes a crawling, melodic tempo before launching into an uber-heavy assault that rams the listener a la blunt force trauma.
All in all, the Martriden EP
is staggeringly impressive for a young, unsigned band with what I imagine was a very limited budget. At 25 minutes, this disc single-handedly proves that this foursome have the raw abilities needed to produce a laudable full-length, and despite the absence of true innovation, record labels would be wise to pay Montana a visit. But I’m sure as hell not going there.
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