Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire – Songs Of Ill Hope And Desperation Review

Assuming one can look past their overly verbose name, in Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire (hereinafter referred to as “Clinging“) one will find a promising young grindcore unit, one that blends their noisy grinding rawness with clamorous deviations into funereal tempos. These crawling dissonant divergences cross the band’s more traditional grind bits with lumbering segments, equally as harsh (and arguably harsher) at only one-tenth the speed. This grind is tight and furious, even when it’s clanging along at a snail’s pace, which is honestly the better half of the approach, filled as it is with off-kilter riffs and noise-rock-indebted squalling chords that make for the record’s most memorable and distinctive moments. Songs Of Ill Hope And Desperation is the band’s second full-length, their first for Prosthetic; it’s my introduction to Clinging’s work, and it’s pretty darn good.

Opening with the pounding blast of “Teeth & Hair,” Songs Of Ill Hope first drops into lower gear with “Cloven,” which is somewhat appropriately named, divided as it is betwixt the band’s dueling aesthetics of slugging and sluggish. Somewhat strangely for a grinding outfit, after the blistering opener, the tempo here sticks more readily to the discordant trudge ‘n’ sludge than the blast ‘n’ fast. Vocalist Ethan sticks mostly to a higher-pitched rasping scream, varying only occasionally into a throatier lower register. As mentioned above, the most distinctive moments on hand are the ones where the band best utilizes their tempo-shifting trick — “Cloven” or the similar-but-reversed back-and-forth attack on “Made Of Coal.” Ill Hope ends on the six-minute “Remove The Light,” which opens at full-speed but peels back into a laconic clanger-banger that then further devolves into four-ish minutes of babies crying and super-sparse chords and drum hits before a brief return-to-form in the all-out blitz of the last twenty seconds or so. All told, I could do without the drone-like ambient midsection because it really doesn’t go anywhere, but being as it is, with the whole thing at the end of the disc, it’s easily avoided and it doesn’t knock much off the album’s otherwise-solid presentation.

Although slower tempos aren’t unheard of in grindcore circles, with increased emphasis put upon those plodding paces, Clinging manages to bring something of a new twist into the grind aesthetic, finding a common middle-sound somewhere between Eyehategod and Discordance Axis. A fresh and interesting take on a well-worn style, and one that grinders and fans of sludgy, noisy ugliness alike will certainly enjoy…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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