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Album Of The Month March 2008
Matriden | ‘The Unsettling Dark’

So wide is the palette from which Matriden derive their murky colour that it’s almost pointless beginning to list the influences.

Forget the genre, and the ideology; there isn’t one. All you need to know is that these riff genii from the other side of the big pond have crafted a modern extreme metal record that exceeds much of what the European crop is currently offering. No mean feat.

They’ve been referred to in the usual splurge as having “a touch of class”, and for once it’s not drivel. Out of the hundreds of bands soundchecked here – Death, Carcass, final throes Emperor, Zyklon – the one constant is quality. At times like She Said Destroy in their aiming for the absolute in new format, technically adept yet affecting metal, they’re not falling far short of the mark.

Keyboards are in there pretty thickly without detracting, while melody is also dealt with particularly well – ‘The Calling’ harks back to ‘Crystal Mountain’, if not a heavier ‘Symbolic’ whole, while ‘Processional For The Hellfire Chariot’ betrays enough hints of Opeth’s ‘My Arms, Your Hearse’ to be most seriously satisfying.

It’s a sorry state of affairs that all of this is saddle bagged with third rate cack for artwork, but then this is certainly a case of the book bettering its cover. A supremely confident debut that shows us just where we are in extreme metal right now: with genres mattering less and less, and an entire generation absorbing whole threads of extreme metal’s development, it’s a positive and unsurprising thing that these whippers have picked the best of what they’ve heard. Too easy, huh? But it’s made a pretty fucking killing album.

4.6 / 5 – Earl Grey::: 08/03/08

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