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Trees Of Eternity - Hour Of The Nightingale (2016) - Review

Band: Trees Of Eternity
Album title: Hour Of The Nightingale
Release date: 11 November 2016
Label: Svart Records

01. My Requiem
02. Eye Of Night
03. Condemned To Silence (feat. Mick Moss)
04. A Million Tears
05. Hour Of The Nightingale
06. The Passage
07. Broken Mirror
08. Black Ocean
09. Sinking Ships
10. Gallows Bird (feat. Nick Holmes)

"A seed of the fatal kind
No roots to grow and thrive
Some things weren't meant to stay alive
Aborted while still in mind"

When Finnish guitarist Juha Raivio (Swallow The Sun) and Sweden-based, South African-born singer Aleah Starbridge got together in the studio when Swallow The Sun recorded their seminal album New Moon, and soon after that in 2009 formed an acoustic project Trees Of Eternity, I guess that nobody knew what kind of fate would follow them. You must already know that Aleah died from cancer on 18th April 2016 at age 39, right after she recorded vocal lines for the debut album, Hour Of The Nightingale. The full line-up on the album beside Aleah and Juha consists of some masterclass musicians like guitarist Fredrik Norrman (October Tide, Thenighttimeproject, ex-Katatonia), bassist Mattias Norrman (October Tide, ex-Katatonia) and drummer Kai Hahto (Wintersun, Swallow The Sun).

Hour Of The Nightingale is pure melancholia and sadness, it reflects that beauty in darkness, it's one of the most emotional albums you might have heard recently, it's a sound of a wounded siren from the spirit world, a message to the ones who were left behind, it's a personal drama, full of pain and beyond fight for subsistence, an intimate deposition of otherworldly sensations that will forever remain in our hearts. Even if the music is basically kind of a down tempo atmospheric doom/gothic metal, it embraces with such a perceivable feeling of warmth and kind of a seductive haunting dark power beyond anything that can be easily grasped. The songs on Hour Of The Nightingale need time to penetrate your soul, your mind and heart must be opened up to absorb all of the emotion this album brings, and when properly done you'll be able to discover how utterly sweet is the sound of sadness.

Trees Of Eternity walks throughout the thin line between monotony and dense soul shivering atmosphere which often so nicely builds up. Everything is centered around the refined sensitive dark yet fragile voice of Aleah, like a tearful angel dancing with the stars her voice brightens up and somehow eases the sorrow in our hearts. Guitar lines perfectly blend with Aleah's soothing voice, such tender and captivating melodies are often backened up with gloomy dense riffs. Yes, it's nothing strange if we have behind the guitars Juha and Fredrik, two absolute masters when it comes to melancholic riff. You'll hear plenty of acoustic lines that often nicely pass over to heavy chords and vice versa. Strong rhythmic line when needed adds that certain feeling of heaviness, and I can't forget to mention some well inserted orchestrations and gothy ambiental keys that so perfectly deepens the whole sound, just listen for example to the opener "My Requiem". How penetrating is the moody "Eye Of Night" or how much of that strangely sweet mournful disconfort will you embrace within absolutely staggering "Condemned To Silence" where Aleah is accompanied by guest vocalist Mick Moss from Antimatter. And this just opens up the way for a lullaby for the wounded ones named "A Million Tears". Don't be ashamed if you'll spill a tear or two down your cheek while listening to this epic melancholic masterpiece, there are already a million of tears in the ocean of sorrow. I simply have no words how beautifully builds up in tension this one and if you won't get any goose bumps than something must be wrong with you. And consider that we are not even at half of this album.

I won't be bothering you with descritptions how I feel while I'm listening to each song, it's a too personal emotion, but believe me that every single song, every note, every word brings shivers down the spine. Every single tone is in right synchronisation with everything else, compositions are so freakingly well balanced, it's a harmonic dance of sounds that won't leave your head for a while, it grabs you from head to toe, and I'm pretty sure that in your darkest moments you'll be returning for more and more of this delicacy. Yes my friends, and lovers of melancholic music, the culmination of everything awaits in the last epic song, "Gallows Bird", this time Aleah's voice gets company by mighty Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost (btw, I love Nick's return to those deep clean baritone gothic vocal style in here), you simply must experience this sonic beauty.

Hour Of The Nightingale is a sweeping testimony how the darkness, all the sadness and all of the beauty the one can endure is transformed into music. It's an intimate sonic journey that needs your devotion, a sombre and yet sweet lullaby for those who can bear the heaviness of the most intricate inner thoughts. It's a testimony of ubiquitous presence of constant loss and oddly enough yet there are rays of the brightest of light that this album holds within its songs and lyrics.

"Crack me open or I'll go down
on this sinking ship don't leave me to drown
Still the water bears the sound of my eternal plea
The all I found, the all I will..."

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

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