Martriden - _The Unsettling Dark_
(Candlelight Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (6 out of 10)
Not to denigrate the efforts of this quintet -- it's glaringly obvious that _The Unsettling Dark_ required more than a little elbow grease to bring to completion -- but from the outset, there's something missing from their debut. Call it a lack of spark, or the general absence of an original idea, but there's something about the album that doesn't quite gel. Like a growing number of their ilk, Martriden seem to have all the aesthetics bedded down to a fault. There's no arguing the quality of their technical nous, and Cephalic Carnage's Dave Otero has gifted them with a production that is second to none. It's in the execution that the band's house of cards fall down, and songs disintegrate into faceless avalanches of cacophony. There are exceptions, of course. The frankly magnificent two-parter "Ascension" is a stunning collision of progressive, symphonic and brutal death metal. But for whatever respite it provides, it underlines the fact that Martriden have a ways to go yet before they become the contenders that they're so clearly capable of being.


(article published 11/5/2008)

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