Review: “Insufferable Humanity” by Arbre Mort

It might be labelled as an EP but at 35 minutes it’s 6 tracks are longer than most albums these days so Lafayeffe Louisiana based Arbre Mort (or “Dead Tree”) who are formed from the ashes of various area Extreme Metal bands shouldn’t be pigeon holed. This is the bands sophomore release following their 2016 self titled debut, both of which have been recorded by the band with the help of Jai Benoit. The quintet who comprise drummer Casey Leblanc, bassist Jonathan Brankline, vocalist Thaddeus Riordan alongside guitarist duo Bert Hazelwood and Johnathon Bourque have plenty of live experience but opening for Death Angel on 11th December will be something special.

If there was ever a proper start to a Metal Album, “Insufferable Humanity” has it. Demonic possession vocals, beastly riffs, blast beats and hints at Black Metal and Scandinavian influences are rife in the anvil heavy opening. A choice break out into a Speed Thrash riff and then back into some Death Metal gives you an idea as to where these dudes are coming from the seamless interplay between the styles is a joy. “Ego Death” chugs into life with an opening verse before upping the ante with some impressive lead flourishes and Black Metal chord progressions. Again the cut back into Technical Death Metal is very well done and there is a sense of evil good fun with the chorus. Being a longer track at approaching 7 and a half minutes it keeps you locked in by stealing a page from the Progressive Metal playbook and shifting tempos to great effect. The solo is pretty damn cool too. “Chronic Asphyxiation” talks of Carcinogens in the air with Casey Leblanc delivering a blunt force trauma kit performance. There is an interesting Sludge Metal backed verse while vocalist Thaddeus Riordan produces a slower growl that is seriously impressive should they want to genre switch or do a side project, showcasing the ability to mix it up and not make it sound like a train wreck. Kataklysm perhaps being one of the inspirations for this.

Starting out with a slower atmosphere building chug “Body Farm” has an air of evil about is as Riordan describes a human experiment laboratory where people are locked up in cages as if he was reading straight from a Stephen King novel. His vocal prowess maybe unquestionably dark but his lyrics are darker. The musicanship is stunningly good with the shifting tempo and style changes making for a great listen. “Fear the Worst” is the fast one on the album, racing to a gallop quicky over tonight terrain with some surprise Thrashier riffs before descending into some gurn worthy Death Metal breakdowns. Like the best horror films the album as a whole has some brilliant twists and turns and this track is no different. While other bands would have taken some of the longer cuts and broken them up into shorter tunes, expanding the lyrics and bringing more repetition, Arbre Mort make each track a rewarding Marathon rather than a a short over hyped sprint. At nearly 8 and a half minutes, closer “Murder By Numbers” is a fine example of that battering it’s way through more drumsticks than the factory can produce. The pause break section that plays on silence is masterful while the riff fest that follows it with a play as fast as you can crazy mad solo is just brilliant. Hold on to your hats. The dive bomb guitar squeals are fantastic good fun while the slow down at the end delivers a satisfying crunch. What’s great about it is that there is nothing mechanical about it, it sounds loose and free despite being metronomically timed to perfection. That is a skill in itself [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Insufferable Humanity
  2. Ego Death
  3. Chronic Asphyxiation
  4. Body Farm
  5. Fear the Worst
  6. Murder by Numbers

“Insufferable Humanity” by Arbre Mort is out now and available over at bandcamp

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