Light's Bane

Trees seems an odd choice of name for this Portland quartet, who ooze a ponderously slow brand of psychedelic black doom. When paired with a different act, the name Trees would conjure up images of graceful boughs, sheaved in green and waving in the wind, or shaggy willows, drooping to brush their tendrils across a cloud-mirrored pond. And then you remember that trees are not always the friendliest of plants. Whether the bristling skeletal tangle scraping at your window as a kid, or a massive, lightning-scarred oak ready to crack and obliterate everything in the forest below, trees have the power to terrorize and destroy as well.

And that’s kind of what this 2-song, 30 minute experience is like – wandering through a primeval forest, surrounded by these solemn, unknowable, age-old giants, and never knowing which one is going to come smashing down and reduce you to mulch. Throughout both tracks, “Nothing” and “Black”, Trees randomly releases gargantuan crashes of low-end guitar, and then waits until the shockwave of feedback settles across the forest floor before dropping the next juggernaut. And all the while, a blackened shriek echoes across the scene, like the tree-dodging camerawork from Evil Dead 2 given a hollow, awful voice.

To say that this is an amelodic, arrhythmic piece of work is putting it lightly – it’s more an encounter than a definable listening experience, meant to surround you in its depths with no sense of how you’ll ever find your way back to open skies. While listening to Lights Bane, there’s no sense in trying to look for patterns or structure or nuance – it’s just wave after monstrous wave of upheaval and recession. And then it’s over, and only then, after the last shudders of feedback have subsided and you’re finally back in silence, do you realize how claustrophobic it all was.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 2nd, 2008


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