Trees On Mars started in January 2013 and in that almost 2 year span have created their debut album, The Sapling, which will be coming out November 4th. Grant Tyler (Guitar), Hayden Graham (Guitar) and Scott Barber (Bass & Drums) come from Columbia, SC with their unique spin on Instrumental Prog. While many Instrumental albums are either way too short or start to feel too long, The Sapling comes in at just a tad over 35 minutes, which is nearly perfect. Along with a perfect album length, the songs are all well crafted and flow together seamlessly. Let's divulge into this spectacular album.
The album starts with It's Not But It Isn't, which has a very unique start by fusing together acoustic, almost Bluegrass sounding guitar work over Progressive Metal. Once the song fully kicks in it shifts into many forms. One thing to particularly notice on this song is Barber's fantastic use of drum fills right before the end of the song. After this comes Hey Man, That's Not Cool. But unlike the song title, it is indeed very cool (haha, play on words). The song is upbeat and very melodic with it's Prog roots and ends with a nice mellow note held out. In The Wake starts off sounding very melancholic and brooding, slowly getting heavier and heavier. The second half of the song, after some nice fill work again by Barber, gets into Doom Metal territory and slowly fades out. The tempo picks up again on Niacin. This song would not be out of place on a Scale The Summit album, and that is very much a good thing. The last quarter of the song gets very aggressive with some blast beats and some very thrashy guitar work, which adds some diversity into the sound. Birds & Squirrels is another awesome uptempo song. It is very catchy and a great song that leaves you wanting more. Blueberry Jam comes up next and brings things down to a nice mellow jam session. It has a great Post Rock feel throughout. The guitar work near the middle of the song, while simplistic, really shines through and is so pleasing to the ear. While being one of the more mellow and simplistic songs on the albums, it is easily one of the best and a great change of pace for the album. Ode To The Vulture (Featuring Plini) is the longest song on the album at just over 5 minutes. This song is arguably the best showcase of what Trees On Mars is all about. Phenomenal songwriting from everyone in the band and 22 year old Australian guitarist Plini, really shines as well with his guitar solo roughly half way through the song. Just a very fun and catchy song all the way through. First Place At The Turtle Race, much like the name sort of eludes to, starts off quite mellow and gradually picks up the pace in tempo and musicality. The song shifts quite a few times throughout everything from Jazz to Samba to Post Rock with tremolo guitar. The song is an incredible rush of a feeling. Explosions On Olympus Moons has a very spacey vibe. Throughout the song it feels like you are floating in outer space (While not sounding the same, think of the imagery in the video for Mastodon's Oblivion with a heavier Pink Floyd vibe musically). This a great song to hear at night and just relax. The album ends with Would You Believe Me If I Told You I've Been There Before. It starts off somewhat as the album begins with acoustic guitars in the background over Prog Metal. It's a fantastic song to end the album with, much like Drifting Figures was the perfect song to end Scale The Summit's The Collective. It keeps building and building then suddenly fades away.
Trees On Mars is well on their way to become one of the best bands that Instrumental Prog can offer. Throughout the album you can hear so many shades of the band's influences with it all flowing together and sounding authentic and organic. And with production and mixing from Eyal Levi (arguably one of the greatest up and coming producers in music, let alone Metal) it adds such clarity and quality to the overall experience. Once The Sapling springs to life November 4th, 2014, things will only get bigger and bigger for Trees On Mars.
Trees On Mars- The Sapling available November 4th, 2014 via Bandcamp
- Josh Rundquist