Trees of Eternity – “Hour of the Nightingale” (2016)

Label: Svart Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Death takes us all. Juha Raivio and Aleah Stanbridge collaborated to begin Trees of Eternity in 2009. Before the release of the band’s debut album – created with additional band members Fredrik Norrman, Mattias Norrman and Kai Hahto – vocalist Aleah died. While death is a fact of life, it is rarely, if ever, welcomed. Those who personally knew Aleah will hopefully be glad “Hour of the Nightingale” has been shared with the world. For my part, the touch of the album is a lasting gift to us all – I purchased the album long before I was asked to review it. Trees of Eternity have the slowed tempo, atmospheric metal backing, and clean ethereal vocals of gothic doom. Though this is a debut album, the musical skill and experience of the entire band is apparent from the opening notes, every song is excellent. Even though most of the songs have a similar sound, there are interesting musical differences and the occasional duet with a clean male vocal, but the contrast between songs is best experienced by engaging at a lyrical level. The songs “Broken Mirror”, “Hour of the Nightingale” and “A Million Tears” have lyric videos available for you to sample the sound of “Hour of the Nightingale”. The lyrics are philosophical and evoke the personal struggle with identity, death, and legacy. Perhaps this might appear morbid given the death of Aleah, particularly as the album opens with a song titled “My Requiem”. However, the themes cannot be attributed to Aleah‘s passing. “My Requiem” was the first song created by Trees of Eternity and the entire album has existed for some time now. (And there would not be anything wrong if they were constructed with foreknowledge. Warren Zevon demonstrated this well on “The Wind” after he was diagnosed with cancer). The songs on “Hour of the Nightingale do ask us to celebrate life rather than dwell on death, on “My Requiem” we hear “Too late you’re calling out my name / To raise me up out of my grave / Alive in memory I’ll stay / If you shun these waters where I lay”. Then on title track, “Hour of the Nightingale“, we are more directly asked to “raise your head / saline waters, won’t raise the dead / grief will haunt those who forget / that night is not the end / embrace this as a nightingale in song / in the darkest hour of shadows she belongs / her voice reflects the colours of dawn”. Aleah writes about a number of existential issues. On “Condemned to Silence” we hear about the barriers we create for ourselves, “We don’t become who we dream of / If we don’t face our own demons”. However, what stands out for me is the atmospheric poetry of certain passages which matches the tone of the musical experience. Consider the following from “The Passage”: “Time – another / Inevitable price / Paid when the river of life / In our veins runs dry / The waking moments / That pass before our eyes / Are all we take to our graves“. “Hour of the Nightingale” is a lovely album in all respects, all involved should be proud of its existence.

Rating – 95/100

 

Tracklist

  1. My Requiem
  2. Eye of Night
  3. Condemned to Silence
  4. A Million Tears
  5. Hour of the Nightingale
  6. The Passage
  7. Broken Mirror
  8. Black Ocean
  9. Sinking Ships
  10. Gallows Bird

 

Line Up

  • Aleah Starbridge  – Vocals
  • Juha Raivio  – Guitar
  • Fredrik Norrman  – Guitar
  • Mattias Norrman – Bass
  • Kai Hahto – Drums

 

Links

facebook.com/treesofeternity/