The Burial Tree (II)
04. In The House of Distorted Mirrors
06. Bathos and the Iconoclast
07. The Zephirus Circus
13. The Blackening
14. The Collector
[Muse Sick Records]
Every now and again, an album comes that changes the face of metal – Between the Buried and Me‘s Colors and Strapping Young Lad’s City both spring to mind. They raised metal to new levels of creativity and catapult that band to almost overnight stardom. Which brings me to Ana Kefr, a five-piece band from Riverside, California. They formed in mid-2008 and released their debut, Volume 1. One year later they released the single “Tonight We Watch the Children Fucking Burn.” Not much noise was made, but now, with The Burial Tree (II), Ana Kefr have released what will no doubt become a landmark LP in the metal community.
Like the aforementioned Colors, this album makes a conscious attempt to sound like one long song. That said, each song has its own identity, which is an impressive feat on its own, especially while stringing the pieces together in such a fashion. They’re so brilliant in their arrangement and diversity that the album’s 62-minute run time is easily justifiable: no filler whatsoever.
Also, there is something for everybody in this album. Like black metal? There are plenty of black metal parts for the duration of this album. Like death metal? Well, there’s a lot of that here too. What about really good metalcore? “Parasites” has it in abundance. Hell, they even delve into grindcore in the 18-second short “Jeremiad”, as well as symphonic elements seasoned across the album for the ‘ultimate’ effect. “Monody” features a amazing clarinet solo, and piano is often a featured instrument. The occasional blues, world, or jazz breaks are present as well. Ultimately, you’re going to find something to like about this album, or better yet, like me, you’re going to love all of it.
Furthermore, the talent of these guys is astounding. Normally I am much more of an instrumental kind of listener, but I feel this review would be off without recognizing the absolutely monsterous voice of Rhiis Lopez, who has to be one of the best extreme vocalists of today. His lows and mids are brutal while still retaining colors, and his semi-rare highs are up there with the best of them – and he can sing like all hell, which is amazing, considering how much he rips up his vocal cords. The rhythm section of the band doesn’t slouch either, deftly moving chords and keys with ease. Guitar solos and leads are ever-present, and are consistently amazing, providing a tasteful layer to the madness. The drumming is superb, offering a massive amount of variety, and the bass often adds that final piece of ambience.
The production, too, fits perfectly with the aesthetic of the album. The album literally sounds like the end of the world, which compliments with the album art and the singular tree, starting a new world, and other possible profound explanations. Everything is mixed perfectly. Guitar tones are amazing, drum tones sound natural minus the triggers, bass is very audible, etc. A couple of little nuisances can be discovered while actively listening that brings the master volume down, but I’m going to blame this on a possible download error while I was downloading the promo.
Normally, I would begin on the criticisms, but I honestly cannot think of a single correction to make about this album. This album is as close to perfect as I believe it can get, and I hope it will be a future staple in metal and catapult Ana Kefr to instant recognition. Anything short of that would be underrated and underappreciated.
Ana Kefr’s The Burial Tree (II) gets: