You'd be hard pressed to believe that this powerhouse death/black metal band Martriden hail from Montana of all places...that's right, Montana. One listen to this four song debut EP on Candlelight Records and you would swear these guys were from Sweden, Norway, or perhaps Finland, but no, they are from a part of the US that is not quite known for extreme metal music.
While there is only about 25 minutes of music here, this is ear-shattering and brain pummeling stuff of such superiour quality that you'll be hitting the replay button over and over, salivating for more. It's not really fair to the band to call them black or death metal, as they use elements of both, but let's just say that this is extreme stuff all around. Drawing from influences such as Opeth, Morbid Angel, Marduk, November's Doom, My Dying Bride, Behemoth, and Emperor, these guys take those influences and have formed their own style that is quite breathtaking. "Blank Eye Stare" features an assortment of complex riffs and juggernaut rhythms, yet the song is very melodic despite its brutal nature. There are even some quieter moments that recall Opeth at their most subtle. Speaking of subtlety, there's nothing resembling that on the rampaging inferno called "The Art of Death Infernal", a smoldering piece with crushing guitar patterns and plenty of black metal shrieks, which gives way to the intricate "In Death We Burn", a song that is all death metal save for the Scandinavian styled black metal growls. The middle section features some gorgeous acoustic passages that once again bring to mind Opeth, before the band kicks back in with some furious Immortal styled black metal with thunderous blast beats and raging tremelo picking. At just over 7-minutes long, this is one metal epic in sound and scope. Haunting keyboards and lilting guitar lines kick off "Set a Fire In Our Flesh", a moodier number that features pounding riffs and intense death metal rhythms. Despite this songs brutality, there is plenty of melodic and symphonic flair to this one, and the growling vocals are some of the best you will hear.
Whew...what's left to say other than this might be the most awe-inspiring and ass-kicking EP to come around in some time. Here's hoping Candlelight can get a full-length out of them quickly and strike while the iron's hot. The band is also opening for Emperor on a few dates here in the US soon, so be sure to check them out if you can.
And yes, that's Travis Smith who designed the cover...
1) Blank Eye Stare
2) The Art of Death Infernal
3) In Death We Burn
4) Set a Fire In Our Flesh