Sound — 10
This album is splendidly extreme and progressive. AK mixes several genres of music within the songs while still maintaining that unique quality which is metal. They also use a variety of instruments including saxophone, clarinet, a stand-up bass, and even a rattlesnake's rattle in Thaumatrope. In the House of Distorted Mirrors makes you feel as if you are a reflection, bouncing every which way. There are also some incredible solos, played by Brendan Moore, which can seriously tug at your heartstrings or jerk out tears. Each instrument takes a separate role in the music, adding its own unique voice, creating layers in the songs. That is especially apparent with the underlying presence and complementary spotlight on the bass. It leads us into the garden of Emago, mourns a melancholy interruption in Monody, and assists the keys with setting the mood at the beginning of Apoptosis. Vocally, Rhiis D. Lopez is vastly versatile. There is a broad range of vocal styles implemented throughout, from flawless clean vocals to terrifying growls, and a mixture of the two (which I will name clean growls). Backing vocals create a distorted sense of reality. Hats off to the female guest vocalist, Nikki Simmons (Stay the Night), who embraced a few songs with her radiant operatic solos. She has the ability to send pulsing goosebumps down your spine with her voice in The Collector, every time you listen to it.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are a cornucopia of powerful one-liners. For example, The tree of wisdom bears the fruit of Blasphemy (Emago) and We are the Children of Perdition, basking in the glow of their churches burning (Ash-Shahid). Ana Kefr translated from Arabic means I am infidel, and the use of Arabic and ancient eastern language is also prevalent throughout the album in songs like Ash-Shahid, and The Blackening. Just for a taste of the nature of some of these lyrics, here is a line from opener, Ash-Shahid: In this, our hour of judgment, humanity is violently redeemed. Thena' Shaitan! Ana [al-] Dajjal! Enta Shaitan and every knee may bow except for mine. Try using the Google phonetic translator to figure that one out. Listening to The Burial Tree with the lyrics in front of you is like watching a foreign movie with subtitles. You experience chaotic, intense dialogue that requires focus; simultaneously an onslaught of rapidly changing images where deep concentration is mandatory to absorb the basic storyline. It is plain to see that an excessive amount of thought has been put into this. The lyrics are stimulating and controversial, and the music grabs hold and steers you face-to-face with the brutal truth.
Overall Impression — 10
Oh my f***ing Science! This sophomore album from Ana Kefr is unlike any other. You pretty much have to be crazy not to enjoy it. The Burial Tree actually makes me feel smarter by listening to it. It is brutally savage whilst beautifully poetic. Ana Kefr has a daring and extreme message to the world that they stand by with pride. I feel as though, with this album, AK is congratulating the world by saying, Don't worry about going to Hell. You're already here!