Nikki Carlson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s “death metal” music may be described as gothic, freaky or even disturbing by some people, but to four former Havre buddies it means freedom, dreams and life itself, as evidenced by their new release, now available in Havre. Brothers Shane and Kyle Howard along with friends Will Thackeray and Michael Cook formed the band “Martriden” several years ago, while students in Havre. This summer, they and their newest band member, Chad Baumgardner of Harlowton, made their debut appearance in the big time. Martriden performed as the opening band for “Emperor’s” reunion tour at Chicago’s The Metro on May 30 and at the Key Club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles on June 3. It was a dream come true for “The Big Sky” guys. Kyle said both the Chicago and Los Angeles shows sold out. He estimated about 1,500 people flooded into the Metro, and between 1,100 to 1,200 crowded into the Key Club, and that crowds of that size were a tad intimidating for the band, who were used to performing in front of an audience of about 50. “(The audience) did like us. We didn’t get booed off the stage,” Kyle said Thursday. “A lot of people told us that they had enjoyed it when we were out and about afterwards.” Which is good, since Martriden is slated to go on tour next summer. “These are guys that we never thought that we would play with ever in a million years,” Shane said. “If there was one show that we could play in our whole Career, it would be with them. That’s why it’s such a big deal. Last year, they did the same type of reunion tour and it sold out of all the venues.” Last summer Martriden recorded their debut four-song EP, a CD with fewer songs, in producer David Otero’s recording studio, Flatline Audio, in Denver. “That was the first time that we had recorded in a studio, Shane said. “I had searched a bunch of places lookin’ for somewhere and (David) had seemed to be the best within our area. Our style of music meshed with his style of recording.” Their debut EP was released in the United States on June 5. Creative Leisure Manager Rick Linie said Thursday the four-song EP titled “Martriden” hit the shelves Friday. Sam Goody at the Holiday Village Shopping Mall has a display featuring Martriden, T-shirts and the band’s Eps for sale. The songs in their EP include: “Blank Eye Stare”, “The Art of Death Infernal”, “In Death We Burn” and “Set A Fire In Our Flesh.” Since then, the band has signed with Seige of Amida Records, a European label, and Kyle said Martriden has now recorded a CD with eight new songs that will be released in February 2008. The album will be titled “The Unsettling Dark”. Martriden has also received a couple of rave reviews. According to a review in Kerrang magazine, their EP is “A debut EP that is a testament to all that is visionary, powerful and exciting about extreme metal; four songs that ooze menace and intelligence in equal measure, unafraid to explore and expand, yet never far from the black and death metal roots that inspired them. They may be from Montana, but cowboys and sun drenched prairies full of grazing horses are the last thing that spring to mind when the wonderfully brutal Blank Eye Stare’ or In Death We Burn’ blasts your brain with their pummeling riffs and melodic cacophony.” Metal Hammer magazine boasted, “There’s even a faint whiff of Opeth influence in the extended epic song In Death We Burn.’ It’s maddeningly brief, but hopefully a taster of more in-depth album to come. Incidentally there’s something refreshing about Black Metallers called Kyle, Shane, Will and Michael who haven’t felt the need to invest absurd pseudonyms like Azbagorgothia and the like.” Dreaming of stars Shane, Kyle and Will began playing together in their homes while still attending school in Havre. Michael, also of Havre, joined them later and they became the band “Pale Horse.” Shane said their childhood band mainly played cover band songs. During their college years, they all continued playing together and later changed the name of their band to Martriden. “We had played all of those cover bands for such a long time and it was mainly just for fun. But eventually we just got tired of playing other people’s music,” Shane said. “We wanted to see what we could do for ourselves. We knew that we could write music. We just never gave it a shot. I think we got to a certain point where we just think we can do it as well as our heroes.” Shane, a 2004 Havre High School graduate, defines Martriden’s music as “symphonic epic black metal” because of the complex parts of music played by all of the band members at the same time. He plays the electric guitar for Martriden. Shane’s love for music began with his older brother Kyle’s electric guitar. Looking at the 21-yearold’s long blonde hair, one might not think that he had an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Whales University in Denver. However, cooking is his second passion. He is also known as the chef of the band because he is often the one ordered into the kitchen to make the rehearsal snacks. “I’d rather be able to live off of music and have it be nice and steady rather than the cooking,” he said. Even so, he said he will go for his bachelor of arts degree in food service management this fall at Montana State University- Northern. Will, 20, is also a 2004 HHS graduate and attended Eastern Washington in Chenneye, Wash., where he majored in music education. “Music is my biggest interest and I’d like to teach someday,” he said. Will plays the electric guitar for the band and has had classical guitar lessons as well. Will’s mother, Jan Wiberg, is the music instructor at MSU-N in Havre. He said coming from a music background helps him when on stage to deal with the pressures of being a musician. “Playing with (the band) as a whole band is the best part. It’s really fun playing as a group,” he said. Will added that the family support has helped him to grow musically. “My mom’s been mostly positive about the whole thing,” he said. “I think she’s just glad that I’m into music somehow.” Steve VonerHeide of Kalispell toured with the band for the Chicago and Los Angeles performances as their drummer. “A lot of bands have too big of an ego, but these guys are pretty level-headed and down to Earth. That’s a rare quality,” Steve said. Michael, 19, graduated from HHS in 2006. He’s currently attending the University of Idaho in Moscow for his bachelor of arts in electrical engineering. He joined the band with Shane, Kyle and Will in high school and is the vocalist for Martriden. “I used to hang out with them quite a bit,” he said. “They asked me to do vocals and it worked out.” Though many death metal bands’ edgy lyrics can be difficult to decipher “because it sounds like “Cookie Monster is singing,” Matriden band members disagree when it comes to Michael’s pronunciation. “He does a really good job with the vocals and you can still understand what he’s saying,” Shane said. “I’d say that I enunciate very well,” Michael said. “I try to distance myself away from (the norm) by enunciating more properly.” Michael said his appreciation for music stemmed from his mother Darla Cook, who is the choir director at Havre Middle School. “She wasn’t that surprised that I was going to do it. She doesn’t exactly like the style of vocals that I do, but she supports me,” he said. Darla said, “He has a great bass voice. I can appreciate the complexity of the music (Martriden) writes because it isn’t the usual pop, three-chord song.” Shane and Kyle’s mother, Claudia Howard, agreed. “I support their music,” Claudia said. “It’s difficult music because when I listen to it there’s a lot of stuff going on. It’s beautiful and it’s awesome. They did it all on their own. All I did was provide a little support.” Kyle, a 1999 HHS graduate, is now a 26- year-old K-12 music teacher in Harlowtown. He attended the University of North Colorado in Greeley, Colo. He plays the keyboards in Martriden. “I try not to have a narrow view on anything,” the small-town boy said. Kyle said his biggest dream would be to perform for larger audiences full-time. Kyle was also the high school music teacher for Chad, Martriden’s bass guitarist. Chad has been practicing with the band for a year. The 18-year-old graduated in May from Harlowton High School and can now tour with Martriden. Chad said that because of his age the band and his former music teacher didn’t want to be held liable if something had happened to him. “(Kyle) had told me that his band needed a bass player so I helped them last summer during the Montana Metal Fest in Billings,” Chad said. “It was nerve-wracking for me. It was big for me because I had never done anything in front of people. I’m terrified in front of people. That’s a rush for me when people cheer for you. I hope to be playing as long as I can.” This fall, Chad plans to major in digital film and video production at the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver. One of his dreams is to own a recording studio or provide audio engineering for a studio. Now that Chad has graduated from high school, his parents said they are more comfortable with him being a member of Martriden. “At first, they weren’t really sure what to think about it. They didn’t really know what I was doing,” he said. “They didn’t listen to this kind of music. But now with the circumstances, they support it fully.” The members of Martriden may have different backgrounds and career interests, but they share common ground when it comes to music they stay true to their style. “It would be nice to be more known. I’d say metal is gaining back recognition as it was in the 80s,” Michael said. “We don’t water music down to please people.” For more information about Martriden, go to their Web sites at www.martriden.com or www.myspace.com/martriden.