Review: The Killing Tree “The Romance of Helen Trent” CD

Here's some fairly diverse metalcore with both some of the melodic Swedish death metal thing and the chaotic/technical angle happening, as well as some more straightforward metalcore with a blend of chugging hardcore rhythms and a little bit of melody. The vocals are straight screams with the occasional sort of "singing shout" style, which sounds pretty cool here, because it's literally a "singing shout"... if that makes any sense at all? This is definitely better than average, because the transitions are fluid and the songs, while long, tend to carry themselves well. Take for instance the lengthy instrumental, "Soundtrack to a Failing Relationship", starting very calmly with lush clean guitars under heavy delay and eventually leading in to forceful distorted chord progressions with a plodding rhythm section and sparse lead lines. The recording isn't half bad. It's a little bit on the abrasive side, but barely, because the bass tone is thick as hell and the percussion sounds totally natural (tow thumbs up there). There's a nice amount of clarity, but I think I'd drop the vocals back a smidge and maybe add some crunch to the guitars, but not too much... just a little. The layout is very consistent all around. Everything is done in shades of brownish green and cream, with some high contrast graphics over subtle cardboard looking textures. Inside the lyrics are arranged at haphazard angles over those same cardboard textures against jagged black space. I'm not into the lyrical content, though. They're pretty generic and a lot of the topics and lines use trendy metaphors and thematic issues such as the following: "I never noticed the color of your eyes until I saw them in the reflection of this knife, Green with envy for a life you never had, Bloodshot contempt when I extend my hand..." What it is with these bands always talking about knives and shit in reference to girls who've likely "wronged" them? Despite their strengths, I do think the tracks are too long (most over five minutes, some right at seven), but mainly because the CD runs 52 minutes, and that's just too much to take in one sitting... and I think I'd rather hear nine slightly shorter songs than seven or eight long songs. This band is definitely on the right track, because they're not totally generic (while not totally original) and they're competent writers, so with a bit more honing of their skills they could far outshine the competition.

[One Day Savior]
Running time - 52:10, Tracks: 9
[Notable tracks: Switchblade Architect, Soundtrack to a Failing Relationship]
One Day Savior Records -