It's not often that an album like The Burial Tree (II) comes along. This latest from US band Ana Kefr is so varied, so hard to categorize, but yet to utterly addicting, that it's going to be hard for critics and fans to ignore here in 2011. Mixing elements of death metal, black metal, progressive rock, hard rock, classic heavy metal, jazz, symphonic rock...you name it, it's here, but in the end you'll find it hard to figure out exactly what you just listened to, but that's the beauty of it all.
This is actually the follow-up to Volume 1 in 2009, which was their debut. Now I haven't heard that one, but this latest is a prime example of a band who are the peak of their creative powers. Comprised of Rhiis D. Lopez (lead vocals, keyboards, clarinet), Kyle Coughran (rhythm guitar, vocals), Brendan Moore (lead guitar, sax, vocals), Alphonso Jimenez (bass), and Shane Dawson (drums), Ana Kefr also has enlisted the help of Nikki Simmons (vocals) and David Franklin (timpani) on a few tracks. Together, these fine musicians have created a wonderful piece of work here. I call it a 'piece of work' basically because the CD almost plays like one long suite, even though it is made up of 14 songs. Many of the tracks segue smoothly into each other, giving the entire album that concept feel. Lopez is a very talented vocalist, able to fire off clean melodic passages as well as raging black metal shrieks, metalcore bellows, and brutal death metal growls. Many of the songs have all of his styles meshing with each other, which is quite impressive. Musically the band keeps you on your toes, one minute dazzling with some complex progressive metal, the next an atmospheric jazz passage, or a crushing extreme metal cacaphony. Tasty guitar solos and crushing riffs abound, as well as some well placed keyboards and sax.
Seeing as this release plays so well as a complete package, I've decided not to dive into individual tracks as it really needs to be heard as a whole. Ana Kefr and The Burial Tree (II) are going to surprise a lot of people, as this is easily one of the most adventurous progressive extreme metal albums I've heard so far this year. Well done!
- In The House Of Distorted Mirrors
- Bathos And The Iconoclast
- The Zephirus Circus
- The Blackening
- The Collector