Album Review: “Murder and Cuddles” by Raziel’s Tree

The nearly hour-long Murder and Cuddles begins with “The Sorceress”, clearly the standout track.  It’s a funny track, the music is catchy, and it lets you know without a doubt this is stoner metal and these guys know what they’re doing.  A clever track about a magic using woman that ‘demonstrates her awesome might’ by ‘snuffing the sun and bringing eternal night’.  And of course, there are undertones that this is a woman that plays with men’s hearts; halfway through the track, a hint is given as to the other side of Raziel’s Tree; the heavy distorted guitar stops, and a clean guitar accompanies a voice singing a melody instead of screaming.  This other side pops up various times on the album.  

Photo by Sarah Winner Photography (Copyright 2018)

Another interesting facet of this album is a number of off the cuff recordings of what appear to be Brett’s everyday interactions.  Interactions with strange people, pissed off people, and in the case of ‘Aberrations’, just some weird screams of agony.  It’s another testament to the unique individual vision of the main songwriter and his ability to clearly bring his vision to fruition.

For the most part though, other than “Love You II” and “Social Distancing”, the songs on this record are straightforward fuzzy distorted guitars and bass, and screaming fuzzy distorted vocals.  Call it stoner, call it sludge, Raziel’s Tree calls it ‘groovy, crusty, sludge’ somewhere between ‘hard rock and metal’.  This is hard rock/metal music, no bones.  Minimalist and like most post-hardcore stripped of all pretense or artifice.  A whole album of the great Melvins like tunes where the Melvins stop trying to be someone they’re not and just rock out.

“Love You II” and “Social Distancing”, on the other hand, much like the break in “The Sorceress”, are very earnest Sentridoh style tunes about relationship joys and difficulties.  It’s clear that ‘Brett’ (whoever he and the others are that don’t include their last names on any of their info) has two very different styles and sides when it comes to the music he creates.  One stoned, funny, and rockin’, the other sensitive, lo-fi and confessionally thoughtful and ultimately frustrated with the cliches of life and love.  The guitar sounds on the equally lo-fi “Social Distancing” match that of Nevermind period Nirvana and offers another vulnerable tale of loneliness and anger over a relationship.  

If you like stoner and/or sludge metal, you’re probably going to dig the majority of tracks on this record.  If you’re looking for something more, more poppy or catchy or eclectic, you’re not gonna like this band, this album, or any of their others.  This is a treat for the fans and a clear stop sign for anyone that doesn’t like to rock way down in the mud and the pit.

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