Ask an extreme metal enthusiast what continent has been dominating the death metal/black metal field in the 21st century, and the obvious answer will be Europe, the Scandinavian countries especially, although Germany, England, Poland, and Holland have also been making noteworthy contributions. The United States has continued to be very metal-friendly, although most of the American metalheads who emerged in the late '90s or 2000s are more likely to provide alternative metal, metalcore or rap-metal than death metal or black metal. It isn't as though North America never had anything to do with death metal -- Slayer is from Los Angeles, and many of the other death metal bands that were formed in the '80s came out of Florida -- but there is no denying that Europe has been running the death metal/black metal show for a long time. So it comes as a surprise to find out that Martriden is a death metal/black metal band from, of all places, Montana. Listening to this self-titled debut EP, someone who knew nothing about Martriden's history would never guess that they were from Montana or anywhere else in the United States; they are an American band with a very European sound, combining Scandinavian death metal with Scandinavian black metal. Lead singer Michael Cook favors the type of sinister-sounding rasp that black metal is known for; he never gets into the deep, guttural "Cookie Monster" growl that has been death metal's trademark since the '80s. But musically, Martriden gets as much from death metal as they get from black metal. With influences ranging from Opeth to Marduk, this 25-minute, four-song CD makes it clear that Martriden cannot be labeled as strictly death metal or strictly black metal because their sound is very much a marriage of the two. Martriden's material falls short of exceptional, but even so, their first EP is a decent example of the fact that you don't have to be from Europe to play death metal or black metal in the 21st century.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson