The Canadian west is, generally speaking, a frustrating place to search for music of the death, black and thrash metal variety. Possibly owing to the influence Blasphemy had on music in the region there seems to be a never ending supply of bands who are two parts style and maybe one part substance, often relying heavily on invasive drumming with the guitars existing more as background noise with as much depth as a tea spoon. For every band such as Axis of Advance or Warmarch who understand that the guitars shouldn't be hidden behind a sonic wall of never ending blast beats there seem to be ten bands who take the Blasphemy or Conqueror approach to writing music, which I can best summarize as randomly recording fuzzy guitars which are almost inaudible behind grating vocals and blasturbation. It's an unfortunate state of affairs that most guitarists in the region seem to think of riff-writing as below them, more focused on highlighting their drummer's ability to play as if someone loosed a pneumatic drill on the drum kit. While it is good to see that people understand that the drums in this genre are the key to keeping the music aggressive it's rather perplexing that so many bands seem to view the guitars as something only there to create an aesthetic feel. It is as such incredibly refreshing to hear bands from the region who place emphasis firmly on the riffs without entirely abandoning the aggressive drumming that tends to characterize metal in the area. Martial Barrage are one such band worthy of praise for balancing all aspects in a manner that's very pleasing to the ear.
Martial Barrage - Call Of The Serapeum (2005) [HQ]