Denver, Colorado band Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire play a dissonant, difficult kind of music that sits at a crossroads between grindcore and funereal doom. They refer to themselves as “funeralgrind” to communicate the aggressive nature of the sound and texture along with the bleakness and misery that informs their themes and lyrical content. It is clear this band is going for a specific and profound kind of catharsis, seeking healing by indiscriminately spitting out venom and bile until they are empty.
There is a slow-burning, slow-crawling agony that defines “Visceral”, a tone that evokes both congealing blood and oozing lava. Equally comfortable employing the punishing blastbeats of grindcore and the crushing, tar-heavy guitars of fine sludge, CTTTOAFF want their listeners to become intimately acquainted with the precise textures of grief. The music is certainly chaotic, like a thing thrashing around in pain, but the sludgy elements act an as anchor, restraining the record from spiralling off into sheer discord.
The final (and longest) track on “Visceral”, “Asthmatic,” is also the most successful. While the majority of the shorter tracks leap out and seize the listener in ravening jaws, going immediately for the throat or spine, “Asthmatic” slows enough to take it’s time, to ponder over it’s violence. This time and space allow the song to evolve more fully, to develop into something intellectually engaging as well as purely furious or agonized. While the rest of this EP has impact, it is only with this final song that “Visceral” lives up to its full potential.