On my never ending search for good music, I stumbled upon this band’s Bandcamp page and decided to listen to a couple of songs, just to check their song. And I was about to give up for the day, as I had already listening to some pretty bad bands, but I’m definitely glad that I didn’t.
And, as I always add, if by any chance there’s a new reader here, I don’t write detailed reviews, relying almost solely on the album production or the very technical aspects of the music (which most listeners don’t understand). My only goal is to show if the music is great or not, in a kind of simplistic, but not boring, way.
The band’s bio describes their sound very well and I believe I should add it here for your interest: “Formed in 2011, Arbor contains members from Green Bay and Milwaukee, WI. Arbor’s first release, “The Plutonian Shore”, was released on July 13th, 2012. The record boasts an emotion-rich atmosphere set on a masterful percussive foundation. A distinct, melodious sound carries through each song on the nourishment of its creators. Agility and sloth conspire to form an aura of introspection.”
Arbor plays Atmospheric Folk/ Post-Black Metal and I can safely say that this isn’t one of those bands that simply “copy” and state that they were “influenced by” other musicians. In my modest view, the band has its own sound. I believe I can say that Arbor’s sound is, in a way organic, almost experimental, but not the type of “let’s throw any weird at the song” experimental. It’s indeed very atmospheric and quite elegant material. There are acoustic parts, all the guitar tremolos that we expect from a black metal band, clean and shriek vocals (that keep on changing) and, as the band itself states, the music is very, very introspective. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s boring, quite the contrary.
As for the lyrical work, I strongly enjoyed it as well, just as an example; I’m copying some of passages that I consider fine illustrations:
“Your face is my illusion
Etching in me one more mystery
Blessed with sacred visions
Instilling in me your memory”
“High atop the lowest stock
of virtue and release
the resonant infinity
bereaves the quiet countenance
of days beyond remembrance
instilling peace and patience
for a cause unknown”
“turn my water into time
so I can push the stone up farther
let me live
deliver me from every mouth”
… your face is my illusion
etching on me one more mystery
these mounts and meadows haunt me
knowing no one will follow me back home”
Production-wise, there’s nothing to complain about either, especially being a self-released album. You can hear every instrument clearly. The only thing I’d prefer, and this is a personal opinion, of course and I don’t even know if it was intentioned, is that we could hear the vocals just a bit clearer.
To summarize, Echoes Over Oceans is a beautiful “extreme metal” work, with atmospheric moods that are perfect to listen to on a stormy day while relaxing. Arbor is not just one more another repetitive band, it’s one of the bands that I, once again, believe that deserves more recognition from the metal listeners as well as from the labels.
Echoes Over Oceans was recorded, mixed, produced, engineered, listened to, danced to at The Arboretum in Milwaukee, WI from August 2013 to November 2013 by Argo (from the official Facebook).
Album: Echoes Over Oceans (2014)
Track list: (2 discs)
1. A Beckoning Call
2. From Every Mount and Meadow
3. The Foliate Head
6. In Silent Company
7. Jamais Vu
8. Strange Light in the Pasture
Total running time: 45:55
2. A Star-Stretched, Hollow Sky
4. The Order of Things
5. A World Imagined
Total running time: 42:43
Zak Koehn – Keyboards, Vocals, Guitars
Joe Opolka – Bass, Vocals, Guitars
Noel Chandek – Vocals, Drums
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/arborwisconsin
Official Bandcamp: http://arbor2.bandcamp.com/April 26, 2014