Considering the smoke and blazes that are choking parts of the Western United States, perhaps it’s an ill-advised time for a new piece of music from Denver’s Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, but surely they could not have predicted this sad turn of events.
Related tragedy aside, this band deserves a higher profile, and perhaps their new EP “Visceral” will help them get there. I’m actually shocked their last full-length, 2010’s “Songs of Ill Hope and Desperation,” which was their first for Prosthetic, didn’t get them more notoriety. It was a steamrolling, suffocating album that ran 13 tracks in just under 34 minutes, mixing crushing grindcore with downtrodden doom metal. It sounded and felt evil, which is kind of a turn from a lot of grind lately where it feels more fun and exciting. This was more depressing and bleak, like you wanted to lie down in a dark room and contemplate life when it was over. It was a really eye-opening record and seemed to indicate this band was one to watch as time went along. And with this new six-track EP effort, that hope remains for this band.
Having Clinging on their roster is one of Prosthetic’s shrewder decisions the past few years and is one of many lately that have made the label’s roster even more muscle-bound. They’ve long been the home to bands that have achieved mainstream success such as Lamb of God (who went on to Epic) and All That Remains, but they also have bands that haven’t quite broken through to that same level but still have represented themselves quite well, including Neuraxis, the Acacia Strain, Skeletonwitch, Animals as Leaders, Gojira, Landmine Marathon, Book of Black Earth, and one of my favorite bands Withered. They also have signed some serious underground bruisers recently such as 1349, Trap Them, Black September, and Dragged Into Sunlight, rounding out what’s become a pretty impressive collection of troops.
This all takes us back to Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire and the six new cuts on “Visceral,” being released on 10-inch vinyl and download only. Like their last full-length, there is a healthy mix of doom and vicious grindcore, and there’s also one hell of an explosion of anger in these tracks. Instead of feeling like life is shit when it’s done, like I did when listening to their last album, you instead have a desire to incinerate everything that’s making existence such a burden. So it’s a bit of a different reaction. This collection sounds like a band that’s growing more and more aware of their agenda and is increasing in confidence, and that should only be good for the CTTTOAFF going forward and a plus for their fans who buy their albums. It took me one listen to realize just how hungry this band is, and while it may be premature to say this, I can’t wait to hear their next full-length record and what it’s going to sound like.
The EP opens ominously with a noisy intro cut that leads into “Lower Than Life, Higher Than the Sky,” a title you certainly can read into and wonder about their thinking. The first part of the song is muddy and calculating, but then it just blows up and goes into a full maul. “Garbage” also is full throttle and thrashing, with a flurry of blasts that offer zero mercy; while “Special Education” and “Biracial” are both over before you get a chance to blink, each attacking your senses and dragging you underwater for a struggle for your existence. Closer “Asthmatic” is the longest cut on here by far, running 5:29, and it is imbedded with feedback, damaged, downturned doom, off-kilter drubbing and lightning-fast outbursts. All in all, it’s a fantastic EP and one that, as mentioned, should help this trio grab much-needed, much-deserved elevated respect and admiration from their peers and record-buyers. Just try not to do any damage to city hall, the post office, or whatever else may ail you. Just listen and vent vicariously.
The band also is in the midst of an American tour, so perhaps you can go out and get your chest flattened live. The tour dates will follow after the band, merch, label links below.
For more on the band, go here: http://clingingtothetreesofaforestfire.blogspot.com/
To buy “Visceral,” go here: http://clingingtothetreesofaforestfire.bigcartel.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://prostheticrecords.com/
To see the band on tour, go to one of these places:
July 14: Denver,CO @ Blastomat
July 15: Cheyenne, WY@ Ernie November W/Reproacher
July 17: Boise, ID @ House of the Rising Sun W/Reproacher
July 18: Richland, WA @ Ray’s Golden Lion W/Reproacher
July 19: Seattle, WA @ The Black Lodge W/Transient, Reproacher, Scourge Schematic, Numb
July 20: Portland, OR @ The Alleyway W/Burials, Basement Animal, Transient
July 21: Redding, CA @ Tremont Cafe w/ Transient
July 22: Oakland, CA @Hazmat W/ Transient, The Burial tide, Man Among Wolves, Feast, Boar Hunter
July 23: Los Angeles, CA @ 3861 Dwiggins St. W/Transient
July 24: Los Angeles, CA @ The BLVD W/Transient
July 25: Flagstaff, AZ @ Big House W/Transient
July 26: Elpaso, TX @ house show. Communion of thieves are helping. ask them.
July 27: Austin, TX @ Red 7 W/Boars, Transient
July 28: San Antonio, TX @ The Korova W/Transient
July 29: New Orleans, LA @ Siberia W/Transient
July 30: Atlanta, GA @ TBA W/ Dead in the Dirt, Transient
July 31: Nashville, TN @ 1318 little hamilton W/Transient
Aug. 1: Greensboro, NC @ Legit Biz W/Transient
Aug. 2: Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter W/Transient
Aug. 3: Columbus,OH @ Carabar
Aug. 4: Chicago, IL @Albion House
Aug. 5: St Louis, MO @ Fubar