Ana Kefr
The Burial Tree (II)

And I thought Journal‘s Unlorja was ambitious! Imagine if Kayo Dot, The Pax Cecilia, Orphaned Land, Unexpect , Between the Buried and Me and Opeth all got together and contributed their DNA to a new breed of experimental, musical  genetics — the resultant zygote would be Ana Kefr.

Meaning ‘I am Infidel’ in Arabic, California’s Ana Kefr deliver an incredibly diverse, ambitious, experimental and brilliant album that culls from a vast array of genres including prog metal,grindcore, math metal, death metal, thrash, jazz, orchestral music, and ambient instrumentation into to one self coined form of music called ‘philosophical metal’, that somehow works and the end result is utterly awe inspiring, if challenging.

As with many other forward thinking, genre expanding acts, the line between pretentiousness and brilliance is thin, and undoubtedly many metalheads will simply think Ana Kefr are a unstructured, chaotic and simply throwing a ton of influences up a wall hoping something sticks and calling it progressive. However, patient listeners will hear a plethora of tangible influences, many listed above, all wrapped up in a hugely ambitious and enthralling listen.

Opener “Ash Shahid” is a pretty good indication of the CDs overall sound; choppy, angular metal with bursts of death metal, lots of strings and keyboards, a jazz groove and vocals that range from deep growls, black metal shrieks, clean croons, deep Dani Filth-ish spoken words and manic screaming. And its not all just for show or random, as there is a surprising depth to the music when you get past the admittedly overwhelming amount of stuff going on. Second track “Emago” has a hint of Dimmu Borgir about it with its circus like synths runs and lurch but “Monody” is where the band really starts to shine with some languid Saxophone moments, female vocals and some vicious black metal blasting.

“In the House of Distorted Mirrors” is one of those uber busy over the top numbers that detractors will single out, but its followed by another of the albums Saxophone graced standouts  in “Thaumatrope”, a surprisingly short, direct but still varied 4 minute track. “The Zephirus Circus” starts as a strange three minute deathcore-ish track  before taking a Carnivale-ish turn into pure batshit insanity for the 13 second grind of “Jeremiah”  and 1 minute “Apoptsis”. Some sense of cohesive normalcy returns for “Parasites”,the albums most simple, standard track and it features some very nice melodic death metal licks showing the band can settle it something more easily digestible if they choose. But that’s soon washed away by the chaos of “Paedephilathrope” which makes a Cradle of Filth meets The Dillinger Escape Plan Cacophony.

As much as I love the album, I have to question having the albums two longest cuts, the 8-minute “The Blackening” and the 9-minute “Collector” on the back end of a 14 track, hour long album. Many listeners will be mentally and musically exhausted at that point, which is a shame as “The Blackening” is a controlled, killer, somber ballad of sorts, but with teeth and showing another of the bands may hues — though, I think they should have played this hand earlier (but I do understand the flow of a concept album).  And thusly “Collector” while epic, seems like and needless second ending to the album a lot like Return of the King, despite some gorgeous Arabesque female vocals. And speaking of ethnic elements, considering the band’s apparent cultural diversity (a huge assumption on my part based on pictures), I wish more of that had crept into the music.

Regardless, The Burial Tree (II) is more than likely one of the most eclectically brilliant and probably divisive albums you’ll hear in 2011. Its the kind of genre shattering album that The End Records was releasing in the early and mid 90s and deserves your ear, at least to hear that creativity and originality  is alive in metal today.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 5th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Sounds awesome. I’m on it!


  2. Commented by: shaden

    sounded typical and boring.how about some real metal reviews? or at least something new and exciting?………..wheres the seth.ect,new anaal nathrakh,krallice,even vomitory reviews? just give me some metal on here!


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