Martriden - Encounter the Monolith
Released Independantly
Epic Progressive Black Metal
6 songs (45:28)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Crash
Album of the month

Well, we’ve got quite a monster on our hands this time.

Montana based band Martriden have been playing their epic brand of extreme metal for quite a couple of years now. They released two albums, Martriden and The Unsettling Dark which are both unheard of by me. In fact, I found the band by accident from a list of recommendations from a friend. The awesome cover art drew me in first and convinced me to press play. The song was The Three Metamorphoses and if isn’t one of the best epic black metal songs I’d ever heard then I’d be damned. Everything about it stuck out to me, the songwriting was beyond excellent with twists and turns that eventually built to an outstanding climax. The production was big and crisp without having that soulless pro tools feel. And best of all, I was high as balls when listening to it.

So I went back the next day and took another listen, this time without the aid of auditory and visual stimulants and by God, it was just as good as I had remembered. I quickly called every record store in town and tried to purchase it. Problem is, right now the band is only distributing the album themselves which is odd since they are listed as on Candlelight records everywhere else online. I am unaware of the band’s label status, but after the release of this album there is no reason why they should have to do things independently ever again.

Could the rest of the album be as good as The Three Metamorphoses? Well… no, actually. I’ve come to find that it is by far the best track on the album. But still! I came to find that the rest of the album was still fantastic and well deserving of my hard to earn praise.

I don’t want to go into one of those “It sounds like….” speeches that seem necessary in reviews, but without spoiling too much. Martriden play an extremely epic form of progressive metal. It strays in and out of death and black metal so often that I will just stick with black metal just for the sake of argument. The themes on this album revolve around space, more specifically Stanley Kubrick’s astonishing film 2001: A Space Odyssey. After all, if clues like the album cover and songs called Heywood R. Floyd (One of the characters from the movie) wasn’t enough spacey geekdom for you, then I don’t know what would be. It transcends normal sci fi fare in the same way that the film did, everything seems bigger and more important.

Like I said before, the sound is huge. Guitars are expertly played on all songs. Intense tremolo picking alongside almost Opeth like melodies have no trouble weaving in and out of eachother. The songs are long, which gives them enough time to flush out their ideas and see them through. Great moments occur at such times as the ending of Discovery or the mammoth ten minute long instrumental Death and Transfiguration. And if I have to mention one band that these guys have been listening to a lot lately, it would namely be Opeth. Luckily, they avoid and distinct similarties, and it mainly comes down to the mood. Oh, and that they use a freakin’ mellotron throughout many of the progged out moments. If that aint proggy enough for ya, there ain’t much that will be.

Martriden came at a real surprise to me. I had the album nearly two months before the other songs clicked for me, but while listening to it over and over to prepare for this review my stance changed. It was always good, and the first song I ever heard was still excellent. But now I appreciate the album for being a complete monster, and something that any fan of progressive music or just really epic metal would die for. So please, buy the album from them. Because if enough people do it we might even get something better next time.

Killing Songs :
The Three Metamorphoses and Discovery are by far my favorites
Crash quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Martriden that we have reviewed:
Martriden - Cold and the Silence reviewed by Jared and quoted 94 / 100
Martriden - The Unsettling Dark reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
Martriden - Martriden reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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