|Album Rating: A|
In relation to their debut, Above the Earth, Below the Sky, there's a lot more inclination and respect to post-metal, as heard in tracks like "Red Forest", or "Left To Rot and Rust", with low and loud bass and rhythm guitar lines, and the melody in lead and harmony screamed out in a violent shriek of a tone. The drum lines feature lots of action on tom, so as not to accentuate a bright splash with cymbals, and instead make deep, percussive resonance more forwardly important, cymbals only coming in when loud breakdowns or choruses are in progression.
The beauty of the orchestration is a mixture of violent forte, quiet buildup, and slow, somber quietude. A song like "They Speak With Knives" has a fantastic mixture of the three, with guitars moaning in the background in order to create an eerie, beautiful air in the piece. Meanwhile, the opener, "Breath Of Life", uses only a low rumbling guitar and deep reverberations in a lead tone that lie in a blatant, ominous semblance that leads beautifully into the dark, haunted milieu beautifully established by "The First Fire". There's something remarkable about the beautiful song transitions that pushes a great record up to a point of excellence, and one of those things is an uninterrupted, flowing listen.
I really wasn't sure what to expect from If These Trees Could Talk. The first record did so much for a debut that I sat staring it down, not knowing what to think. Upon listening, I concede that their sound was changed, one can't deny that. However, I think the healthy divergence is for the better - they left the action-oriented post-rock behind for more turbulent waters, and I feel that the post-metal scene fits them slightly better. And while there are plenty of elements of post-rock that remain, for old If These Trees fans and instrumental rock loyalists in general, there's also a broadening that does justice to a wholly expanded fan set as well, enrapturing those that would be listening to something like Beware of Safety or Jesu as well as Moonlit Sailor or Tortoise. The record is a feat, and brings new light to the sound without detracting from the quality, and it's a fantastic sophomore release.
The record hits stores March 20.
Look for updates and band info on their Facebook, and music on their Last.fm and MySpace.
1) Breath of Life
2) The First Fire
3) Barren Lands of the Modern Dinosaur
4) They Speak With Knives
5) The Gift of Two Rivers
6) Red Forest
7) The Aleutian Clouds
8) Left To Rust and Rot
9) When The Big Hand Buries The Twelve