Track By Tracks: Martre - Ofelia (2023)

This is a track-by-track breakdown of  “OFELIA”, the new album by Danish experimental black metal project Martre.

1. Armor Of Gold:

The opening track on the album,  and also the first one I finished for the album; it’s based on an old idea, and the first riff actually dates back to my second EP, “Forglem mig ej”, but was never brought into play back then.

It's an unusual opening track for Martre, as I normally use the first couple of minutes, to lure people into the album atmosphere, in a much calmer fashion; this time, it's a totally different story. The first twenty seconds is a hammer to the face, and demands the listener's attention right away; the song is very forward-pushing, and riff drove - but finishes with soothing synths, and drums leaving a slight indication, of there’s much more to come...

2. Silence Of The Damned:

The music and vocals come second on this grinding piece, because the true star of the track, is to be found in the sample; I've had some crazy guesses on who it is, and it's definitely not Charles Manson, but the legendary Sir Charles Spencer, aka Charlie Chaplin.

The sample is taken from a true movie classic, The Great Dictator, and the speech is in my honest opinion, one of the greatest moments in the history of movies; unfortunately, its message is as relevant today, as it was back in 1940 when the movie came out.

3. Show Me Your Darkness:

I guess this is where things start to get a little crazy; the track features a lot of tempo changes, and it's also the first time on the album, to feature growls.

I'm not the best growler in the world, but as I kept playing around with the tempo, I just felt, that the song was asking for something else, than the shrieking and whispering vocals, that dominate most of the album; from the two minutes mark it's almost plain funeral doom. I get chills myself during the last thirty seconds, as the piano starts looping, and panning from side to side, and hopefully, other listeners respond in the same way; I would be honored if they do.

4. Voices In The Ashen Winds:

Despite actually not being the biggest fan of interludes, I somehow have a strong tendency to include them myself... This one is based on a one-take raw recording, of some noodling on my old acoustic, which I did on my phone, and just couldn't get out of my head for the following days.

I took the original recording and just kept adding layers to it until it had the soothing, yet dark and somewhat haunting feel, I was looking for.

5. Ofelia:

This is not only the title track, but also meant to be the transition track on the album; the lyrics go from English to Danish, and the listener is almost about to enter, the second half of the album.

The drums on "Ofelia"  is in the odd time signature of 7/8, and stand out from the rest of the album, as everything else is based on the classic meat-and-potatoes 4/4. The double hits on the snare, create a pushing feel throughout; go, go-go - and drives the track forward, while the rest of the instruments kind of hold everything back a bit, and let the dominant synths take up a lot of space.

In one of its earlier renditions, the lead guitar at 2:20 had an accompanying clean vocal part, but it was thrown in the trash at some point, as I just couldn’t come to terms with it. However, my mind seems to work in mysterious ways; couldn’t make the part fit back then - and despite that, I still keep singing the clean part inside my head, every damn time I listen to it..

6. I Dødens Have - Pt. I:

I had a lot of thoughts about releasing the "I Dødens Have" quadrilogy as a stand-alone EP, but in the end, I decided not to; I think it shines the most, as a mirror to all the madness, that takes place in the first half of the album. Tremelo-riffs and blast beats might be the essence of these four last tracks, but still with a lot of fun stuff added to the mix.

"Part I" features a choir sample, and I'd wish I could tell people exactly where I got it from, but I honestly don't remember; as I recall it was a vintage recording, of a choir testing acoustics in a church. I picked it apart, down to bits of less than a couple of seconds, and even reversed some parts of it - before I put it all together, and created the choir "performance" that can be heard on the track.

This part of  "I Dødens Have", also features my first take on doing a "real" guitar solo; I consider myself to be a below-average guitar player, but when I came up with the solo, that starts at approximately 3:30, I felt very pleased  -and for a few seconds, I felt like David Gilmour from Pink Floyd...

7. I Dødens Have - Pt. II:

The shortest track on the album starts off with only the left channel guitar before the guitar on the right and the snare drum kicks in at the beginning of the third round of the main riff. The vocals are a mix of whispers, growls, and shrieks, and are often layered multiple times. The main riff is repeated numerous throughout the song, but is killed again and again, by the almost criminal breakdown-like verse part; which also leads me to my personal favorite part of the song, at 1:25. It's a simple break, lasting only two seconds - before the bass- drum, once again rolls on at a steady mid-paced tempo.

The opening riff makes a return for the entire final minute, in an eager attempt to destroy everything in sight before everything explodes within the final few seconds..

8. I Dødens Have - Pt. III:

An atmospheric and mellow, almost instrumental interlude, for the listener to have a break, and gather thoughts and pieces, before a grand finale which follows in “Part IV”. The tribe-like chants in the song, are actually from the same old choir recordings as in “Part I”, but as in the first case, it’s cut and modulated into obscurity.

9. I Dødens Have - Pt. IV:

I’m a sucker for huge album closers, and among some of my favorites You’ll find songs like “O Father O Satan O Sun!”, by Behemoth, and “Tornekratt” by Kampfar; both of them, are amazing and epic songs, that excel in summing up the entire listening experience, that went beforehand.

I definitely don’t have great thoughts about myself, or my accomplishments on the album, and the aforementioned songs are definitely in a league of their own - but I still believe that “Part IV”, to at least some degree, manages to sum up what the rest of the album is all about.

As a contrast to what I’ve done before, and that doesn’t apply to this album only, there’s a slight, but unintended, hint of optimism in the way the verse vocals are performed; I guess the optimism gets killed at some point during the song, as the final words sung on it, is “Snart, vil alting dø” - which translates to “Soon, everything will die”.

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