The Unsettling Dark

“MONTANA?!” Is what I said to myself when I discovered where one of Candlelight’s newest death/black threats, Martriden hails from. Who would have thought the state of Montana, which I always kind of regarded as Bum Fucked Egypt, was capable of producing talent in the metal world? I for one certainly did not, but I suppose it just goes to show just how far reaching metal has become over the last 40 years, working its way into every nook and cranny of the world in sects large and small – people are finding it, embracing it, and in the case of Martriden, producing some quality material.The Unsettling Dark is the bands follow up to their promising debut self-titled EP, a four track monster that showed some similarities to that of Behemoth or Zyklon, but with much more versatility; vocals (Michael Cook) that alternated between a black and death styles, a good use of keys (Kyle Howard) that accented and provided atmosphere to the crushing rhythms rather than dominate the sound, some exceptional riffs and guitars (Shane Howard and William Thackeray), and an array of bruising and battering drum work (Jeremy Portz). The Unsettling Dark continues in the same way, but is a marked improvement.

The biggest different between the two is that the vocals on The Unsettling Dark are decidedly more blackened and raspy and less of a guttural approach as they primarily were on the EP – but this is just a minor change and does nothing to take away from their sound. Some tracks, such as “The Enigma of Fate”, “Ascension Pt. 1” (which features a guest solo from James Murphy), simply crush and annihilate from front to back, while others like “Processional for the Hellfire Chariot”, “Prelude” and “A Season In Hell” inject bits of melody amongst the heavy, or “The Calling” where they brake a little to introduce some groove. On the s/t track, they build from melodic beginnings and continually up the ante to finish off in an absolutely destroying manner, while on “Ascension Pt. 2”, they keep it completely melodic and instrumental. “Immaculate Perception” closes out the album once again instrumentally, drumless and completely acoustic – I nice light finish to an otherwise pulverizing album.

Bottom line: With The Unsettling Dark, Martriden have created a surprisingly memorable extreme metal album, and have established themselves as a force within the genre – one that I will be eagerly awaiting new releases from in the future. Highly recommended for fans of versatile and well-crafted death/black metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
April 25th, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    ummm i didn’t listen yet but i will i just want to know if they add breakdowns in there music cause a guy who reviewed this on mouth for war said in sum songs they add the chug. just wondering tho, im still going to buy this nways.

  2. Commented by: Staylow

    No – no breakdowns, or at least none of the hardcore variety, and there’s not really much chugga-chugga stuff going on. Maybe occasionally, but that certainly wouldn’t be a descriptor I’d use for them.

  3. Commented by: Shockwave

    curious about this, really liked the ep.

  4. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yeah Im not sure who would say there are breakdowns in this. Either way this didnt impress me like the ep did for some reason. Nothing really stood out, whereas on teh ep all four songs had some magnificent part.

  5. Commented by: swampthang

    sweet thx for clearing that up

  6. Commented by: swampthang

    ohh dude reviews song by song and he said they got breakdowns

  7. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Then hes wrong or has no ears

  8. Commented by: Shockwave

    Breakdowns, it’s not always chugga chugga *ninja kick* chugga chugga. Old Death had breakdowns…it’s just how you look at them.

  9. Commented by: Desperado

    I’m with Erik on this.I’ll continue to give it some spins,but as of yet its not settling in yet.I like the ep a bit more.

  10. Commented by: noe,lvis txdm

    a superb release, where did they go ?

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