Trees - Freed Of This Flesh
Trees is a Portland band that gives their doom plenty of space within which to grow deeper and more greasy. Both songs on "Freed of This Flesh" are heavy and grim, gradually shifting achingly between slow and slower. Each fifteen minute plus drone becomes exhausting as you wait for the next slightest tempo shift, a spare grunt or percussive remark. There is plenty of room and time for the listener to decide how much of the bleakness to invest in, or how long to wait before bailing.
"Ashes" moves painfully slow and minimal, with each riff, drum hit and vocal howl isolated and drawn out for maximum effect. In "Hollow," the first eight minutes feels like one long intro, an extended chord repeated over and over with no relief of the building energy-there is no resolution, as the song plods to the end riding that same chord and same clipped growl. You listen patiently, and are rewarded with being asked to have more patience.
The lack of any sonic resolution may be Trees' greatest strength. "Freed of This Flesh" offers thirty minutes of dark landscape painting, with its few strokes highlighting, not offsetting, the darkness. The guitars, drums and groans all have their moments, albeit small moments, with which to display the obvious reserve of aggression and precision possessed by the band. It might be interesting for them to let some of that loose in their next offering of ambient gruel.
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