Chapter 14- Like Trees In November
By reading this review you are about to embark on a complex but rather brilliant tale that involves melodic metalcore, a whole list of amazing bands and 'Watership Down'.
Chapter 14 are a duo of multi-talented metal mongers you may remember from such bands as: well, Destroy The Runner. Vocalist Chad Ackerman has also been involved with As I Lay Dying and Austrian Death Machine. We are off to a good start before we even give their first EP, 'Like Trees In November' even a millisecond to burrow its way into our ears. According to the press release both the name of this record and the band name derive from Ackerman's favourite book, the aforementioned rabbit-based classic. It is this story which inspires within their music the themes of death, destruction and impending tragedy that shapes our world around us. I remember watching the film adaptation of 'Watership Down' as a kid. Scared the crap out of me and made me do a cry. It's heavy.
So, what about 'Like Trees In November'? Quite frankly, it's pretty blinding and an outstanding effort for a debut EP. It's been a long time coming for a band that have been making music together for a few years now. And you can certainly hear this coming through in the quality of every track.
Opening track 'Winter' grabs you by both hands like an insistent relative forcing you to dance at a family disco. But much cooler. Obviously. The opening bar of fiery screaming that there on in peppers the EP is most likely to let you know to not be fooled by Ackerman's subsequent beautifully soaring and melodic vocals. They may be pleasing for the ear throughout, but this aint pretty fluffy emo. Tracks like 'Bed of Roses' may hold the potential to be confused with the latter given the catchy choruses and singalong verses but it packs so much punch as a package it simply is not the case.
The most important point to make is that technically, this EP is impeccable. It is even more impressive given that it is all down to one chap; the other half of the 14 set, Tanner Sparks. In 'Wizard of Gods' he himself is like some kind of musical Gandalf. Playing the guitar, drums and bass on the record, he is clearly a man of astounding talent. Some of the guitar riffs and solos you will meet along the winding path of 'Like Trees In November', not to mention the shuddering heaviness on 'Moth and Rust'...it'll make you want to do a GOL. ('Grrrr' out loud.) The overall effect is very well-worked, multi-layered concoction of metal and post-hardcore in a melody-driven and highly accessible brand of very slick rock n roll.
Do investigate the endeavours of Chapter 14. They are well worth the effort. And carry all the power but thankfully have shed the terrifying aspect of that film that so scared me as a kid.