REVIEW: Treebeard – Here Are the Answers [2012/Exclusive]

Artist: Treebeard

Album: Here Are the Answers

Rating: 9.7/10



When was the last time an album was ever truly an experience to listen to? Was it a carefully crafted concept album or was it just so poignant, stunning or catchy that it invaded your head and refused to leave? No matter when it was or which band it was that wrote it, Treebeard have created it’s successor. Here Are the Answers is a landscape of sound and emotion which weaves webs of sound so thoughtfully and carefully yet so emotionally and energetically that it can’t help but live up to the band’s monumental namesake.

Instrumentally, Here Are the Answers is, in many ways, an age-old forest. With a foundation of strong, punchy drums that serve as wide, un-moveable trunks. The drums which are deep and sturdy, favor an atmospheric feel, leaving an enormous amount of room for sprawling growth. The canopies of the forest itself is crafted by the intricately woven guitars. Neither shreddy nor chuggy, the guitar lines are reminiscent of post-hardcore giants Dance Gavin Dance, in that while they maintain an ethereal, airy feel, they dart and soar constantly over and around one another, looping rhythmically in ways which make the listener follow along, but never forcing the listener to strain their ears. The bass, while following the guitars in terms of intricate technicality, don’t match the same soaring heights. Rather, the bass is as the snakes and lizards of the forest: slithering untraceably and quickly amongst the sturdy trunks of the skyscraper-height trees.

Treebeard’s forest of sound however, is far from complete. While the trees, leaves, snakes and lizards are all accounted for, there is still a missing piece of the puzzle that is Here Are the Answers. Birds. No forest, big or small, Amazonian or American is complete without it’s feathered friends. Appropriately enough, the voices of these birds can be found in Here Are the Answers vocals. While the vocals can be found flying at tree-level alongside the guitarists’ brilliant fretwork, they can also be found flying to unheard of peaks–the climactic half-way point of “Forest Canticle” as well as the ending of “Nalbelroth, City of Ghosts.” The vocals complete the framework for the complete artistic nature to be found within Treebeard’s latest release, so that the band’s enamoring dynamic can shine it’s absolute brightest.

With the enormous emphasis on the breakdown these days, it can be hard to see where else a band can gather it’s driving force. Frequently, it seems as if many sections of many songs by a great many artists are frivolous filler, leading only to the next chug-laden, riot-rabbeling breakdown. Where is it that Treebeard–infamous for not “breaking it down”–gather their drive and their energy? The answer is in the band’s carefully planned and even more carefully executed dynamic. Again, Here Are the Answers serves as a perfect forest of sound and instrumental imagery. Every bit of a forest is needed for it’s smooth function and ecological usefulness–the same is true of this album. Where the instruments provide the strong, unchanging background that is the trees and leaves–which is not to say they are boring or stagnant by any means, as they are quite the opposite; a picture-perfect combination of melodic and technical–the vocals provide the variation. The nature of the vocals–the height at which the birds fly, if you will–are the potential shift and the change in scenery of Treebeard’s masterpiece. While the instruments hook the listener and gain their attention, the vocals keep their interest, wandering from a croon to a stunning, atmospheric high or crackling half-scream which practically pours passion and energy into the listener’s ear.

It can be easy to write off a post-hardcore band that doesn’t take the cliche–if not obligatory–foray into occasional heaviness. However, Treebeard bypass that road and are all the better for it, as Here Are The Answers relies on nothing short of instrumental prowess and vocal talent, along with a hearty dose of heart-wrenching emotion to make music that is more than just errand strumming or lackadaisical chugging. Rather, Here Are the Answers is a complete experience that no fan of post-hardcore, or music in a broader frame, should be without.


For Fans Of: Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance, La Dispute, Pianos Become the Teeth

By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism