Martriden - The Unsettling Dark
Siege Of Amida
Blackened Death Metal
10 songs (43'21")
Release year: 2008
Siege Of Amida
Reviewed by Alex

Let’s ponder a quick and rather rhetorical question for a second – is it a compliment to an American band that their sound is distinctly European? Holding neither side nor any stake in this debate, I’d say, yes, as long as the music is good. The latter worry is put to bed by the Havre’s, Montana, Martriden. The band really upped the ante and delivered on a promise of the last year’s EP. The Unsettling Dark is a strong full-length blackened death affair, even if it is a little predictable in its development based on the EP. Forever dubbed in my mind as “little Emperor from Montana”, Martriden is a boon for those longing for Behemoth and Crionics to emerge on this side of the planet.

The band is successful, because they have the innate quality of colliding eerie melodies and unabashed death/thrash powerfully produced by Denver’s own Dave Otero (Serberus, RIP). Horns led symphonies meet hammering riffs (The Calling) and when the whirlwind slows down powerful demonic procession closes The Enigma of Fate. This is both unsettling and dark, indeed. The title could not have been selected any better, the title track itself has almost trademark keyboards by Kyle Howard floating atop of the slower doomy opening and breakdowns full of interesting drumming patterns.

Without losing the certain degree of nastiness and brute force, Processional for the Hellfire Chariot is quite savage and lunging, Martriden improved in the songwriting department, delivering songs less involved, but no less melodic and even more cleverly arranged than before. The band’s melodies have a perfect quality to mess with your head, especially if they are as bold and fiendishly poetic as their take on Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp minor (Prelude). A Season in Hell has another overt melody building on just cited Russian composer’s genius, dissolving into acoustic outro and requiem moments. On the other hand, Ascension Pt.2 is practically awash in Dark Tranquillity acoustic melodic swell, which grows strong and surprisingly sunny and major, as opposed to Ascension Pt.1 ending on a rather crushing note albeit with a harmonized scaly lead.

Although it seems that a number of the bands playing this genre have emerged as of late, Martriden should be able to hold their own, without any need for Dimmu Borgir theatrics or facepaint of any kind. The perfect record length and an ability to insert the instrumental, so to give the listener a breather, make for an easy record to digest on the first try. At the same time further appreciation is developed for The Unsettling Dark if more listens are given, me personally focusing both on Kyle’s synth arrangements and drumming, which, as far as I understand was executed by Jeremy Portz, Dave Otero’s hired gun from the days of Serberus and Throcult. Michael Cook’s vocals also seem to be a good fit, his growl is scaled back from the EP, favoring a little higher pitch, with again some multitracking of the vocals delivering an interesting effect.

Totally fulfilling my and, perhaps, their own, expectations Martriden is playing quality metal inspired by equal part Emperor and Covenant (up to Nexus Polaris). Unfit for the kvlt and bedroom BM lovers, The Unsettling Dark does not falsely pretend and is plenty furious to get the blood boiling.

Killing Songs :
Ascension Pt.1, Prelude, The Enigma of Fate, The Calling
Alex quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Martriden that we have reviewed:
Martriden - Cold and the Silence reviewed by Jared and quoted 94 / 100
Martriden - Encounter the Monolith reviewed by Crash and quoted 91 / 100
Martriden - Martriden reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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