Album Review: If These Trees Could Talk – “Above the Earth, Below the Sky” and “Red Forest”

If These Trees Could Talk
Above the Earth, Below the Sky and Red Forest
(Metal Blade Records)

The only proper reason to invest money into re-issuing an album is if it’s most certainly exceptional and previously unknown. In the case of If These Trees Could Talk, Metal Blade has made the right call. Their first full length, Above the Earth, Below the Sky, was independently released in 2009, and marked the ambitious beginning for these Ohio musicians. The album – featuring such wonders as “Below the Sky”, “The Sun Is In the North” and “Thirty Six Silos” – laid the groundwork for what would later become their breakout release, Red Forest. Though Above the Earth… was a fantastic start on all rights, Red Forest was certainly the step up into professional territory. It landed the band on various PS3 titles, Sundance Festival movies, and more in the months that followed, and for good reason. Listening to If These Trees Could Talk is a magical, theatrical experience that continuously impresses and surprises; these albums were made to be epic soundtracks, to put it simply.

Where Above the Earth… faltered (very, very slightly) was in their heavier moments. But with Red Forest, the five-piece essentially perfected their masterful formula. “The First Fire” is hauntingly beautiful, with moments of heightened panic; “They Speak With Knives” has an eerie and secretive sound to it that could easily work as the new X-Files theme; and “Left To Rot and Rust” is fueled by an inspirational rise as it plays through. Listening to this record is just a joy, really.

Currently, the band has been recording their follow-up record – publicly untitled for the time being – to be released via Metal Blade later this year. If their past two collections are of any indication, you can expect a fantastic return from If These Trees Could talk in the coming months. And in the meantime, if you haven’t gotten your hands on either Above the Earth… or Red Forest yet, do so as soon as possible. You don’t have to be a lover of instrumental to get lost within these bad boys. (Nathaniel Lay)

Purchase Above the Earth, Below the Sky and Red Forest here.

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