Now this was a very nice surprise for our dull and boring and ever darkening autumn days! Shamefully I am admitting that I did let the debut album of The Man-Eating Tree go past me but luckily I took the time with their sophmore album “Harvest”. I have kept repeating the same thing over and over again when I write reviews…I do not review bad albums and before I write the actual review I listen the album at least 5 times over. I get no kicks of reviewing bad albums. I gladly leave that to other medias. And to listen an album at least 5 times gives you enough depth to actually write something. Now for you who do not know The Man-Eating Tree, here is a very brief introduction.
The seed of the new band was planted when Vesa Ranta, having taken a break from music after Sentenced, began to overcome his post-Sentenced battle fatigue and lack of musical motivation. The idea of a new band – or bands – was eventually brainstormed over a period of time between Vesa and his friends, including gentlemen Miika Tenkula (RIP), Aaron Rantonen, Janne Markus and Mikko Uusimaa. Plans were made reality in 2009; the outfit was completed by the addition of Tuomas Tuominen as a vocalist and Heidi Määttä as a keyboard player. First demo recordings were made in the spring and summer of 2009.
Now to the album. It’s more and more difficult these days to find albums that can actually take those 5 listening times. With Harvest it shouldn’t happen. Although it was recorded during a time when Finland was suffering from the worst heave wave in many hears, “Harvest” turned out gloomy as hell.
You won’t find it too surprising that the title “Harvest” is a reference to the Finnish autumn. Vesa Ranta (drums, formerly Sentenced) explains: “To me autumn is a very creative season and describes the album very well. With the recording of this album we went to the fullest – in a way we are ‘harvesting life’ with it.”
“Harvest” starts with an intro called “Harvest Bell” that already gives you an impression of what’s to come. As much as I hate to use these “This sounds like”-clichees I simply have to use them here…yes it does remotely remind me of Sentenced…it’s the gloomy atmosphere. And those vibes carry throughout the album. There are parts that remind me of Entwine which is also one of my all time favourites…but it’s just parts here and there…small particles really. And one other thing that usually speaks for a good album is that it goes very fast…”What it ended again?” At least to me it means there are no irritating parts in the album that sort of stop the listening experience like “oh crap it’s this song again, gotta skip it”. No, with “Harvest” you can listen through the entire album and let the atmosphere take you on a trip which at least to me, is definately worth it. Been so for 7 times in a row now and just as I wrote these lines, I said to myself again “What it ended again?” and started listening it for 8th time in a row. Still good.
Vesa, who works as a professional photographer and graphic designer, explains why the music of THE MAN-EATING TREE does and will always have a close link to nature that is also reflected in the artwork: “The beauty and bleakness of nature are very present. I believe that the concept of THE MAN-EATING TREE doesn’t incorporate concrete suburbs, instead a lot derives from nature.” Janne adds: “Being Finnish is a vital part of my personality and I am sure it can be heard in our music as well. Why not, it’s a major part of our band and our sound. The Finnish romanticism and wistfulness are definitely there and always will be.” Vesa further comments: “Of course our Finnish roots are embedded in our music. We Finns are a relatively melancholic nation. This is our and the overall Finnish state of mind that is displayed on the album. The album is very ambient, but it’s the typical Finnish ambience with those dark shades. Still, there is light somewhere far on the horizon.””
- Harvest Bell
- At The Green Country Chapel
- Code Of Surrender
- Like Mute Companions
- Down To The Color Of The Eye
- All You Kept Free
The Man-Eating Tree is
Tuomas Tuominen – Vocals
Janne Markus – Guitars
Antti Karhu – Guitars
Mikko Uusimaa – Bass
Heidi Määttä – Keyboards
Vesa Ranta – Drums
The Man-Eating Tree on internet