Remember the name-Martriden, the hot young death/black metal band from Montana of all places. This exciting new band has just released their brand new debut EP on Candlelight Records, and is the four songs on the CD are any indicator of what we can expect from this band, the future of extreme metal looks pretty damn bright. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo shared some words with Martriden vocalist Michael Cook, who talked about the EP, history of the band, and what's in store for the band in the immediate future.
Read on for the interview!
Sea of Tranquility: How does it feel to be one of the only (known) extreme metal bands out of Montana?
Michael Cook: Well, I suppose we should feel honored to be getting out there and heard, quite frankly the isolation of this rural state makes it quite difficult for anyone to take notice of anything that goes on here, let alone some extreme music band. The bars and clubs will have none of it so setting up shows here is a complete nightmare, and usually ends up being a waste of time. There are people around that make an honest effort at getting a scene going, but the distances band's have to travel just in-state make it extremely difficult. Next to impossible really. So obviously we took matters in our own hands and branched out and got this EP done last year with Dave Otero, and got things rolling in a positive direction that would never have happened had we stayed in Montana and recorded it.
SoT: Tell us a little history of the band, leading up to the 4 song EP.
Michael: The band's official starting point would probably be considered Will and Shane's sophomore year in high school, were we dabbled in composition at the time, but weren't really experienced enough or had the chops to play anything original that we'd consider "good". We played the hell out of old Metallica and Megadeth tunes through…talent shows and local festivals around holidays. As our abilities grew and our ideas branched out we slowly came into our own, pretty much stuck to covering other bands for a while. 6 or 7 years later we finally became confident enough in our songwriting skills to spare no expense and get the job done right….and ended up with the material recorded on the EP.
SoT: You can hear a bit of Opeth, Nile, Marduk, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Novembers Doom, and Emperor in your music-what are some of the band's influences, and how hard is it to separate the influences with so many bands out there today, and write & record something original & unique?
Michael: At this point we're pretty well aware of what bands our music sounds like- there is no denying that. Bands like Opeth, Behemoth, and Morbid Angel have left a big finger print on what we do and that will probably be evident for years to come, even if we don't necessarily listen to those bands all that much anymore, However, there are some major influences on us from other genres that people may never realize unless we point it out specifically and I think those influences and the experiences we've had in our involvement in other musical genres will be very helpful in our search for a more individualized sound.
SoT: Speaking of Emperor, how does it feel to be opening up for them on some shows coming up?
Michael: It is nothing short of amazing. We feel incredibly lucky and honored to be in such a position. Emperor is most definitely one of our favorite bands and have been since we discovered black metal. So the weight of this opportunity is just amazing.
SoT: How did you get Travis Smith to do the cover art of the new EP for you?
Michael: Fairly simple, all we did was contact him via email, talked over some ideas, he came up with a concept based on what we had told him we wanted in general. He showed us his product and we paid for it. He is a great guy to work with. Busy, but honest, and puts a great effort into everything he does, which is obvious if you look at his body of work.
SoT: The band mixes some acoustic passages and keyboards into the music, which adds some variety amidst all the brutality. How important are these more symphonic & progressive elements to the music of Martriden, and will you experiment more with this in the future?
Michael: Yes, we feel it's necessary to include these elements into our music in order to offer up the type of dynamics, tension and overall feel of our music. Our upcoming new material takes everything to another level, and we are confident that as our careers as a band progresses so will our music and hopefully carve a unique niche in the extreme metal genre. That's our goal anyway.
SoT: The music of Martriden is hard to classify-one moment it is full throttle death metal, and others wild black metal. How would you classify the band?
Michael: Well, we're avid fans of both genres and can't really pick one over the other. But if there was to be some middle ground in which we fit..I'd have to say Epic.
SoT: Are there plans to do more expansive touring in the near future, perhaps with some other well known extreme bands?
Michael: We certainly hope so, we're a young band right now, the average age of the band is about 21. Some of us are in the thick of our schooling, but we do intend on making plans to do some quite extensive touring when the possibilies arise.
SoT: The EP is just under 30 minutes, yet packed with lethal material, and honestly, almost as long as what some bands are calling full-length releases these days. Why did you decide to release this EP first as is rather than tack on a few more songs?
Michael: When we originally went to record the EP we had planned to record 6 songs actually, but as we were working in the studio we realized we didn't have the time to get it done, and as that time progressed we actually became tired of the other songs that were intended to be on the CD. We have no intention of ever hearing those songs again, they aren't really of the same quality as the 4 that made it on the EP so there are no regrets as far as that's concerned. It was all about what we could produce that was of the highest quality with the time we had to work on it. And we ended up with 4 songs.
SoT: Is the band writing material for a follow-up CD? What is the time frame to get a full platter out to existing and new fans?
Michael: Yes at the moment we have 10 songs written that we intend to record with Dave starting the later part of June and into mid July. They all run about the same average length as each song on the EP, but we have lost some of our reservations on what we're capable of doing and believe we've come up with some truly interesting blackened death metal. We are incredibly excited to get started on making a full length album.
(Click here to read our reviews of Martriden)