Don’t let the sedate name fool you. Portland’s Trees are beyond mere doom metal and more like a free-floating, pulsating, granular cloud of ill will and malicious intent, all angry, bruised purples. And their Lights Bane album is two mammoth, viscous tracks of red-eyed, itchy-skinned anger, long hours of empty, humid sadness, and sleepless nights of scritchy-scratchy fingernails down rain-soaked windows and unbidden shadows in your bedroom lingering for one moment too long. There are no choruses, no bridge, no quarter.
Of course Lights Bane is an album fully in thrall to the self-loathing likes of Khanate, Burning Witch, Eyehategod, Thorr’s Hammer and the blackened-in-the-endisms and self-abuse of Burzum. And if Trees’ aesthetics ended right there, then Bane would be a simply decent album; I’d enjoy it, but most likely go back to the source material for true desperation kicks. But y’see, this album, this band isn’t that simple.
Each of the two songs herein is composed of several different movements, seemingly unconnected, shambling together like a Frankenstein’s monster. Sections repeat without really repeating. The guitars sound curdled and scabbed. Instruments form a solid wall of electroshock static, a pins-and-needles padded cell for the vocalist’s self-flaying screams and murmurs of anti-life equations. This sort of Sisyphoid trudge-and-grind has not been heard since the much-missed Khanate disappeared. And it’s a most welcome return.
Crucial Blast: www.crucialblast.net