Arboretum is a project that would not exist if it were not for Burzum. The
almost shimmering quality the distorted guitars can take on City of Grass, and the approach to
riff writing and rhythmic application to those compositions are entirely in
homage to Norway's most infamous band. But seeing as how Burzum's post-prison
work has been superfluous at best and execrable at worst, if there is room for
me-too bands, now is as good a time as ever.
originality aside, City
is a pretty enjoyable four-song release. The guitar tone is satisfying, with
its necro distortion providing grit and harshness that also has that black
metal knack of being meditative. The natural sounding drum machine tones work
well in context of the songs. You likely won't notice the drums were not
physically played unless you pay particular attention to the way the cymbals
crash exactly the same way every time. But that doesn't matter, as the drums'
simplicity and supportive role make the way they are implemented a success. The
vocals are also well done, with their blend of distortion and reverb providing
some of the album's most satisfying elements.
some engaging material to be found on City of Grass, particularly during the album's
first two tracks. Unfortunately, the material can get on a bit on the album's
second pair of songs, where the music loses some feeling and enters into more
of a mode of remedial Burzum auto-pilot. In spite of this, the best stuff on City of Grass is as good as the
best material on the last three full-length records Vikernes put out, and Kanto
Arboretum's worst moments are probably better than those three Burzum albums'
worst. For sure the vocals are way better, and so are the drums. (7/10)
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