REVIEW: If These Trees Could Talk – ‘Above The Sky, Below The Earth’

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It is a bold move to set forth as an instrumental band. Doubly so in a genre where front men are lauded and their band behind them are often left out of the spotlight. Instead of having any one voice speak for them there are some musicians who prefer to allow their music to do the talking. Putting a different spin on the old adage, put up or shut up.

Hailing from Akron, Ohio post rock band If These Trees Could Talk are not only raising the bar for instrumental bands but for all who call themselves musicians with the reissue of their debut full length album “Above The Sky, Below The Earth” via Metal Blade Records.

The album opens with the aptly titled track “From Roots To Needles”. The gradual build up fosters an introspective environment where much self-reflection takes place. Akin to the manner in which a seed becomes a tree, this songs diligence in laying the groundwork brilliantly pays off as it hits it’s stride. The instrumentation here is charged yet paced, carefully choosing the optimal moments to pull back before kicking into another gear. Offering the listener a roller coaster experience of sorts.

The album gleams with title tracks “Above The Earth” and “Below The Sky”. With the former being a brief yet full bodied track; distinguished for it’s exceptional use of gentle, mellow riffs. The latter picks up where it left off with darker, grungy undertones throughout. Best described as feeling like falling while suspended in place, this track encapsulates the deep emotional struggle this album is describing without words.

This record closes to the dulcet sounds of “Deus Ex Machina”; a Greek term literally meaning god from the machine. Wrapping up the 10 song journey this record has guided the audience through, this track literally feels as though it is the final page of tale you have come to love. The basic instrumentation, just some repeating guitar picking, is the beacon signaling your time above the sky and below the earth is at it’s end.

The magic of an instrumental album lies in it’s openness to interpretation from whoever is listening at any given moment. There are no correct or incorrect answers here. There is only a phenomenal reissue from a group of guys with big plans for 2015.

Above The Earth, Below The Sky” is slated for release on January 27th.