Review Summary: A satisfyingly doom-infused grindcore album. Pure and pissed off.
RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!! Welcome to Songs of Ill Hope and Desperation
, the sophomore album by Clinging To the Trees of a Forest Fire.
Apparently following in the vein of fellow ire-grinders Anaal Nathrakh
, Denver grindcore outfit Clinging To the Trees of a Forest Fire emulsify furious depressing grind with definite ties to doom metal. You may think the crazy-fast genre and the crushingly slow genre cancel each other out, but one need only listen to “Gold Frankincense Myth” or “Recession” to find that they actually go together incredibly well.
Despite the obvious Nathrakh similarities, CTTTOAFF are surprisingly creative for a grindcore outfit without a discogrind or pornogrind gimmick. Without lyrics and only reading into song titles, I’d make an educated guess that CTTTOAFF’s lyrical themes focus more on self-loathing, hatred, and depression (big surprise).Their riffage undergoes appropriate and refreshing mid-song changes and their jumps from plodding doomcore to raging grind keep you enraptured. Vocalist Ethan, despite looking like Jonathan Davis after a Burger King binge, is incredibly talented and his growls and shrieks are adequately variant.
To get the best idea of the musical aptitude of CTTTOAFF, look no further than “Made of Coal”. At 3 minutes, it’s the second longest song on the album. It contains a killer grindcore intro and then forays off into hints of doom and even post-metal. Here the similarities to Discordance Axis
are apparent. At several points I was reminded of “A Leaden Stride To Nowhere”. On the final track, “Remove the Light”, there is a lengthy voice-over of a baby crying continually while a woman whispers cryptically. Only occasionally does a short but unsettling riff interrupt this incredibly creepy affair. All of these aspects make apparent CTTTOAFF’s style upgrades since their first album, 2008’s Omega Drunk On the Blood of Alpha
, which lacked almost any doom at all.
Songs of Ill Hope and Desperation
is well-titled. It is also a very impressive doom-grind outing that may prophesize future greatness for Clinging To the Trees of a Forest Fire. There is a very obvious and heartening evolution to CTTTOAFF since their debut and if they continue this streak there will be no shortage of satisfying grind in the future.