Released: 2011, Musesick Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Hailing from Riverside, California, Ana Kefr is a dynamic outfit that bridges elements of death metal, progressive metal, black metal, and awesome metal for an original blend of all things extreme. Usually when a band attempts to combine so many different musical variables, it can either go really wrong or it can go really right. Fortunately for Ana Kefr, the band’s sophomore album THE BURIAL TREE (II) falls into the latter category. It’s an unapologetically aggressive platter with a broad range of musical allies that makes for a poetically hostile and exceptionally powerful album.
“Ana Kefr” takes its name from the Arabic translation for “I am Infidel,” which is fitting, considering the sociopolitical context of the band’s musical fodder. There’s no guts, gore, or zombies here kids – the lyric sheet for THE BURIAL TREE (II) reads like a Graduate level philosophy textbook, with subtle and not-so-subtle metaphors for many of the world’s ills. Greed, religion, social apathy are all targeted here with exceptional zeal against a blistering musical accompaniment. Speaking of the music, I had a hard time trying to come up with a proper description of the band’s sound as there’s really a lot of different moving parts engaged at all times. But think of a tsunami wrapped in a hurricane while listening to a Neurosis mixtape, and you kind of scratch the surface. You’ll hear death metal density and frantic guitar solos, black metal speed, progressive time signatures and arrangements, as well as the incorporation of saxophones and traditional Arabic and East-Asian instruments that give the band a unique stamp.
The fourteen tracks on the album each share common bonds, but act as separate chapters within a single volume. THE BURIAL TREE (II) opens with “Ash-Shaid” like a ravenous animal attacking its prey; there’s so much energy packed into this one tune that you’ll wonder if they can maintain that intensity across sixty minutes. But dammit they do, and then some. The band’s relentless aggression never gives way, but the dosage and delivery does get some leeway. More encompassing tracks like “The Collector” cap the 9-minute mark, while other tracks like “Jeremiad” and “Bathos and the Iconoclast” are 18-seconds and 2-minutes respectively, and are more concentrated salvos that act as bridges across the album.
If there’s any justice in the world, 2011 will be the year that Ana Kefr “breaks.” I’m so sick of dumbcore, rehashed garbage metal crap bands headlining major tours and making headlines, it gives everyone in the scene a bad name. Consider Ana Kefr to be the polar opposite to Six Feet Under; heavy music is more than just crapping out a bunch of down tuned E-chords in a crab stance. THE BURIAL TREE (II) should be mandatory listening for any new band thinking of throwing their hat into the ring. THE BURIAL TREE (II) doesn’t see an official release until May 3rd, but check out Ana Kefr’s website in the meantime for samples and teasers.