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Chapter 14 - "Like Trees In November" (CD/EP)

Chapter 14 - "Like Trees In November" CD/EP cover image

"Like Trees In November" track listing:

1. Winter
2. Roses
3. Wizard Of Gods
4. Acts Aside From Action
5. Moth And Rust

Reviewed by on December 14, 2010

"A healthy interest in more mainstream music is required to get the full impact, but the musicianship found on the disc is undeniably impressive."

With the demise of Destroy the Runner, members Chad Ackerman and Tanner Sparks have banded together to form the Chapter 14 project and release the “Watership Down” themed “Like Trees In November” EP. While not nearly as heavy overall as the different bands the duo has been involved with in the past, Chapter 14’s debut is an incredibly well constructed release that’s also catchy as hell. A healthy interest in more mainstream music is required to get the full impact, but the musicianship found on the disc is undeniably impressive.

In line with Ackerman’s former bands Destroy the Runner and Austrian Death Machine, Chapter 14 is based in metalcore, but its emphasis is on the melodic side, leaving some to dub the sound “alternative metalcore.” The focus of the vocal work is a clean singing along the lines of what was found from Destroy the Runner, with a few more rock and radio friendly elements like the “Woah-oh-ohs.” The metal doesn’t get left completely on the wayside, however, as the album even starts with a series of screams and heavy guitar work.

The tracks vary in their heaviness and brutality, with songs like “Roses” ending up more on the poppy side. Each track has something to keep the music rooted in metal, from the aggressive vocals at the end of “Acts Aside From Action” to the impressive and melodic guitar solo on “Wizard of the Gods.” There are also times when the melody from the guitars mix with the drum and vocal work to create a progressive metal vibe.

Phrases like “multilayered” get thrown around in reviews quite a bit, but here it’s a description that is actually deserved. Closing track “Moth and Rust” is one of the best examples, using a series of interesting transitions and combining all the elements in the right way to be compelling, even if it isn’t always heavy.

Metalcore fans who enjoy melody in their music should make a beeline towards “Like Trees In November” at the earliest possible time. The song writing on the EP is top notch and the sound quality is incredibly smooth. Extreme metal purists probably won’t enjoy it nearly as much, if at all, but anyone who digs “post-” style music or metal mixed with radio friendly elements is in for a real treat.

Highs: Great song construction, smooth sound, some prog metal elements

Lows: The EP frequently hits "radio friendly" and some of the vocal work can't really be considered "metal."

Bottom line: Great songwriting, but you'll need to seriously dig melodic metalcore or radio friendly elements to get into it.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)