Mysterious Portland ensemble Trees returns with their second offering on Crucial Blast, and continue to not be confused with ’70s Christian psych-folk community outfit. If you’re familiar with their depraved glacial sludge-y drone doom metal sound from their first record, “Lights Bane” (Crucial Blast), which posited them securely somewhere on the Khanate-Moss-Bunkur-Monarch-Burning Witch-The Body-Atavist axis, it’ll come as little surprise that their sophomore effort continues in such a vein. If you’re not (familiar with yada yada) then the preceding sentence will serve to catch you up to speed.
As usual, to compare the current recording under scrutiny to a bunch of masters of the genre is a bullshit strategy, but it serves perfectly to place things in context, and anyway the alternative is a vomitorium of effusive hyperbole which does nobody any favors. Suffice to say I’m not aware of having listened through to anything from said masters which is in a similar timeframe as effectively accomplished and as basically fucking awesome as this.
The routine is well established: lengthy guitar noise intros building to a crescendo punctuated with interjections of asyncopated drum battering; a sequence of chords, a progression, a riff of sorts will probably develop, but it’s barely possible for the human brain (one not re-calibrated by THC or barbiturates anyways) to register such a deathly gallows dirge actually as one; finally the vocalist enters and utters his mantra of death, insanity, erectile dysfunction, chronic fatigue syndrome, the impossibility of getting a carpark downtown on the weekends and nuclear war in growls and shrieks not too removed from the imaginable sounds of some guy trying to sing whilst simultaneously swallowing the 17-inch cock of a giant Ukranian named Bubba. As I said, the routine is well-established, but it’s not tired, and Trees do it very well. “Freed of this Flesh” is an exhausting, awesome, genre-topping, pummelling head-fuck.
At two tracks at 13-ish minutes each, we’re not talking about stretching the technical capabilities of the CD format to its limits or anything; that’s quite fine though, since after any single play through of “Freed of this Flesh” I find myself either starting the album again or turning it off and casting around for something with which to free myself of some of this flesh. Indeed, I would say that this album is greatly suited to the 12″ vinyl format, and as per its predecessor, the subsequent appearance of which edition I anticipate to appear in the short to medium term.