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7/10 Roberto

KANTO ARBORETUM - City of Grass - CD - - 2012

review by: Roberto Martinelli


Kanto 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.


Questionable originality aside, City of Grass 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.


There's 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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