Martriden
The Unsettling Dark


3.5
great

Review

by DoctorNurse USER (6 Reviews)
December 15th, 2008 | 26 replies | 4,182 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whilst not entirely delivering on the promise of their self-titled debut, this is an album that is more than worth your time.

As a follow up to their self-titled debut, Martriden released ‘The Unsettling Dark’. Fans of their first effort will likely be wondering whether or not Martriden managed to deliver on the enormous promise of their EP and expand upon its sound. The short answer is no. ‘The Unsettling Dark’ lacks the sheer impact found in their debut and you are ultimately left with the feeling that it is a bit of a missed opportunity. That is not to say that this isn’t an album worth you time, far from it; there is plenty to enjoy here and those willing to invest the time to listen to it will discover a collection of songs that manage to rise above a significant portion of the competition.

It is evident that Martriden were aiming for a much grander sound this time around, and for the most part they succeed in this respect. The overall compositions are much more densely packed and generally this works in the bands favour. The riffs have an added layer of complexity to them, as do the solos, but the band still know how to rein it in to avoid technicality for technicalities sake. There is some excellent dual guitar work on display here and there is a tremendous balance between catchiness and complexity that demands thought from the listener to fully discern everything. The bass and drum work, while nothing particularly groundbreaking, do an admirable job of complementing the guitars and succeed in fleshing out the instrumentation on the record.

Once again of particular note are Kyle Howard’s keyboards, which are much more prevalent this time around. They are by no means complex, and that is most definitely a good thing. The simple melodies coast along in the background, often mimicking the guitars, yet add such a level of polish to Martriden’s sound that their songs would be noticeably hollow were they not present. This is especially noticeable on the instrumental track ‘Ascension, Pt. 2’, the only real moment of respite, where the keyboards really push the song forward and inject beauty and subtlety into what would otherwise be fairly standard fare.

With all aspects of their sound operating at full capacity where, then, do Martriden falter? Without a doubt it is the guitar work the drives the majority of the album forward and it is from this that cracks begin to emerge. Whilst I have already stated that Will Howard and Shane Thackery’s playing is exemplary, the guitars are simply too loud in the mix, to the point where they can be a little overbearing. This isn’t so much of a problem with respect to the drums and bass as they operate roughly at the same level. Even the keyboards aren’t hindered too much as they reap the rewards of their subtlety. The Vocals, however, are simply not audible enough to recreate the impact that they had on Martriden’s self titled debut. By gearing the mix toward a guitar-centric sound one of the albums standout performances has been sacrificed. Indeed, Michael Cook delivers a performance that is debatably superior to his previous effort, generally eschewing the guttural death growls for a more black metal influenced vocal style, providing an extra layer of aggression and melancholy to the proceedings, which makes it all the more shameful that he is drowned out a majority of the time.

Furthermore, it does seem that Martriden are at times guilty of resting on their laurels, rehashing old ideas. The previously mentioned ‘Ascension, Pt. 2’, while an undoubtedly fantastic track, at times recalls the outro of ‘Blank Eye Stare’ from their debut. The overall song structures, which do operate on a grander scale here, are often quite similar in tone and arrangement to their self titled effort, and at times you feel that they haven’t expanded on their sound as much as they could have.

Perhaps I am being overly critical. This is, after all, the bands first fully fledged album and what they have achieved is incredibly impressive in that respect. Judged on its own merits this is a fantastic album that is more than worth your time. There is literally not a bad song on here, with each track having at least one standout riff, breakdown or interlude. However, compared to their past achievement you are left with the feeling that this album is not all that it could have been. Nevertheless ‘The Unsettling Dark’ provides further evidence that Martriden have greatness lurking within them, they just need a little more time to goad it out.



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Martriden Martriden EP
user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DoctorNurse
December 15th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hope you enjoy. Let me know if there is anything that needs to be fixed etc.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2008


16376 Comments


Very good review, I haven't heard this band but I'll probably check them out.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

Zoo
December 15th 2008


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good stuff man. The summary says it all.

Another thing that's very true:

However, the vocals are simply not audible enough to recreate the impact that they had on Martriden’s self titled debut.


It was difficult for me to pinpoint why I didn't like this as much as the EP, but I think you've just found the answer.

EDIT: Also, as for errors, the sentence I quoted from the review should read "The vocals, however, simply are not..." as you can't begin a sentence with "however" and "are simply not" sounds a little awkward. But it's solid otherwise.This Message Edited On 12.15.08

fireaboveicebelow
December 15th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty much sums up my thoughts, good job

DoctorNurse
December 15th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers, Zoo, sorted that out. Thanks to everyone else for the Pos.

heyseuss
December 15th 2008


384 Comments


This album is rowdy as hell, nice review.

Phantom
December 15th 2008


8930 Comments


Nice review, will probably check this band/album out.

SKUDstorm
December 15th 2008


136 Comments


Excellent review. I really enjoyed the EP and I think I'm probably going to check this out.

Willie
Moderator
December 16th 2008


15965 Comments


Nice review, but I didn't like the song sample on here. Although, that might have something to do with the fact that I paused The Cure to listen to this and it may have contrasted a little ;)

Digging: Necropoli - I

rasputin
December 16th 2008


14541 Comments


Good review, the EP was pretty good so I think I'll give this a listen sometime as well.

DoctorNurse
December 16th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think at the very least this is a record that people can have fun with, even if you aren't blown away by what you hear.

Dethtrasher
December 16th 2008


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review here. The Enigma of Fate is amazing.

AngelPhoenix
December 16th 2008


2764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ascension Part 2 and Prelude really get me.

DoctorNurse
December 17th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeh, Prelude is awesome. I'd love to see these guys live, but it will be years before they make it to Scotland. Apparently they supported Emperor on some of their reunion shows. That would be immense.

fireaboveicebelow
December 17th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're obviously influenced by them so that's no surprise, but I can't imagine how pumped they were for that tour.

DoctorNurse
December 17th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeh, releasing one EP and then getting to play with Emperor has got to make you feel pretty damn good.

fireaboveicebelow
December 17th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listening to this makes me a bit excited for the follow up, I should probably get that EP now

btw I should probably say that you're the best new reviewer I've read, keep it upThis Message Edited On 12.17.08

DoctorNurse
December 17th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man, wish I could write them at the pace you do.. Ep is apparently only $5 on amazon. If your into aesthetic value its worth owning, comes in a very nice slipcase (in the UK at least).

And yeh, i'm amped for their next album. Apparently they are set to record in the summer.This Message Edited On 12.17.08

fireaboveicebelow
December 17th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh sweet, yeah buying is my thing as far as music goes. And ignore my pace, I just have literally nothing to do for a couple weeks, I'll slow down considerably come the new year

EDIT: 4 euros, WOO, thanksThis Message Edited On 12.17.08

DoctorNurse
December 17th 2008


475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice one. I blindly paid £10 for that ona whim and it was still worth it.



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