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Encounter the Monolith thoughts

Discussion in 'Martriden' started by Srontgorrth, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Srontgorrth

    Srontgorrth Member

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    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.
     
  2. the_drip

    the_drip Martriden K

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    Hey dude thanks for the kind words!:kickass:
     
  3. beast from the east

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    I'm really enjoying this! The first two tracks are both great, especially "Heywood R Floyd". Just awesome.
     
  4. WillMan

    WillMan New Metal Member

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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]
     
  5. the_drip

    the_drip Martriden K

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    Another Review:

    http://keepitmetal.com/blog/2010/02/22/martriden-–-encounter-the-monolith-2010-review-9-610/

    Martriden – 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
     
  6. the_drip

    the_drip Martriden K

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    another: http://dontcountonitreviews.blogspot.com/2010/02/martriden-encounter-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
     
  7. FUBAR

    FUBAR Member

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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.
     
  8. DoctorNurse

    DoctorNurse New Metal Member

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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!
     
  9. WillMan

    WillMan New Metal Member

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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
     
  10. Srontgorrth

    Srontgorrth Member

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  11. DoctorNurse

    DoctorNurse New Metal Member

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    Just a note, that Sputnik review isn't my one. I might still do one anyway.
     
  12. Fifth_Horseman

    Fifth_Horseman Watch out, it's sharp!

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    After reading these, the wait becomes even harder! :)
     
  13. the_drip

    the_drip Martriden K

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    Still hasen't arrived? Do customs take that long for things to go through?
     
  14. Fifth_Horseman

    Fifth_Horseman Watch out, it's sharp!

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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.
     
  15. Fifth_Horseman

    Fifth_Horseman Watch out, it's sharp!

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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!
     
  16. FUBAR

    FUBAR Member

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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!
     
  17. WillMan

    WillMan New Metal Member

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    http://www.metalpsalter.com/review_martriden_encounter_the_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.
     
  18. the_drip

    the_drip Martriden K

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    I like that review. :)
     
  19. the_drip

    the_drip Martriden K

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    http://www.waytooloud.com/2010/03/10/martriden-encounter-the-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
     
  20. WillMan

    WillMan New Metal Member

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    http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=9004

    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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