Martriden – Cold and Silence (2015)

This third full-length from Montana’s Martriden is labeled as a mixture of black and death metal, but as soon as you start listening to the record with “Pendulum” you’d start to wonder if perhaps the genreification scribes over there at MA might have been drunk during that job. Though the piece certainly does welcome tremolos, sharp bass riffs and harsh vocals, it starts with a light and proggy little introduction that isn’t too far from something I might get from Pagan’s Mind or Spock’s Beard. There’s no doubt in my mind that these gentlemen are experimenting and perhaps that’s why the album stuck out as much as it did. More than just a hard-hitting jackhammer of a metal album, Cold and Silence doubles as a sort of trip through the galaxy as electronic swirls seem to light the atmosphere as much as the clean vocals work to decorate it. But oh, no! I’ve mentioned clean vocals and trippy space atmospheres on a record from a band that’s supposed to be black and death metal! Whatever will you do? Someone’s putting peanut butter in your chocolate, surely that can’t be good. Run, run for the hills!

Yet in all honesty, I can’t believe that such a tasteful act isn’t signed. You heard me right, these guys are unsigned/independent for reasons that some semblance of the Godhead only knows. As I continue to listen to the release, I’m hearing influences from acts like Arcturus and Borknagar here as well, which I’m most certainly not going to discourage. There’s definitely some Cynic to be had here as well, which only sweetens the pot. You could also throw in the odd Opeth influence, because why not? I mean, it’s surely there in “Invisible Cities” with the easy listening portion thrown right in the middle of the track, amongst the background vocal harmonies (of which I am certainly envious of) and the brackish beating that you’re also getting simultaneously. Most definitely, they’ve mixed a progressive metal album and a black/death piece together in an almost unreal fashion, making for an absolute diamond in the rough. Surely there are other bands out there that do similar things, achieving results in a similar way, but Martriden are in a league of their own. Some people might actually listen to the disc and think it’s merely Opeth worship, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Cold and Silence is much more interesting than anything Opeth have released in the past number of years. As I said long, long ago, when Opeth decided to give it up and change into a progressive rock act (as they have) other bands would be inspired by that style (and several others of which I’ve mentioned) and Warren Ellis’ “musical babies” (his term) would spawn forth from the combination of those influences. This is what you could literally consider musical evolution and the results truly speak for themselves.

As I’ve been playing a lot of Resident Evil lately, I’d almost liken it to creating the perfect BOW. You get rid of all the imperfections in the mutation in order to build the most terrifyingly powerful weapon ever known to mankind. Most certainly Martriden are an example of that. With equally monstrous riffs, terrifyingly threatening vocals and mutations into light and almost ethereal soundscapes, Cold and Silence may very well be just the kind of fascination that influences other musicians in their own work, all working together to refine and build the perfect monster. In a sea of other malformed musical mutations, it can be very difficult to pinpoint those that are truly brilliant and worth supporting. But all Resident Evil comparisons aside, these guys are an act that I simply cannot believe aren’t playing across the world right now. The very fact that these gentlemen haven’t been signed for a record of this cripplingly potent nature is testament to the fact that the music industry itself is broken. So go to their Bandcamp page and grab the album there, as it’s truly fucking brilliant. At least all the money will go right into the band’s pockets, where it should have always been.

(7 Tracks, 54:00)

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