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Winter Tree, The: Earth Below

I have been fortunate to have heard every Winter Tree album released so far and have not been disappointed yet. In what has been a very busy couple of years for Andrew Laitres, it seems fitting to cap it off with a new album. Earth Below is another fine release and will be a must have if you are a fan of the band.

Laitres has done it a little differently this time getting Jacob Holm-Lupo (Opium Cartel, White Willow) to mix the album in his Norwegian studio. Jacob also adds guitar and synths on a few tracks. Laitres also enlisted the help of Mattias Olsson (ex-Anglagard, White Willow, Necromonkey) who adds drums and percussion. Rounding out the lineup is previous contributor Mark Bond (vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, steel guitar) and Baiba Kranate (vocals on track 8).

Earth Below has everything you would expect from the band; solid lead vocals, beautiful keyboard soundscapes and melodic guitar with some nice solos scattered throughout. This is a very dreamlike album and Laitres has just the right singing style to hook the listener in. There are some real nice vocal melodies throughout the disc.

The opening tune "Plank" is one of the catchiest with the keyboard melody reminding me of Supertramp. The title track is absolutely beautiful with softly hued instrumentation and a dramatic backdrop of dreamy keyboard sounds. "Twilight" is another melodic gem with a Parson's feel while the album ending "A Thousand Futures" is probably the prettiest offering with lovely backing vocals and gently played keys and synths.

For me, the album's best song is "The World Upon Her Shoulders" highlighted with bluesy lead guitar and darkly lit orchestrations having a foreboding tone.

My only gripe is the album's length. At about forty minutes it is pretty short by today's standards. It would have been nice to have included a couple more tracks. Keep in mind this is a minor complaint as I will take quality over quantity any day of the week.

The Winter Tree have come out with another fabulous set of tunes of gently played symphonic art rock that just might gain a few fans if given half the chance. Another job well done from Mr. Laitres and company.

Track Listing:
1. Plank (6:48)
2. Earth Below (6:40)
3. Writing On The Wall (4:02)
4. The World Upon Her Shoulders (6:21)
5. The Garden Of Love (3:01)
6. The Light (4:00)
7. Twilight (4:56)
8. A Thousand Futures (4:18)

Added: September 25th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2669
Language: english

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