Another USBM band you might think. Will it be cascadian black metal? Overtly technical and progressive BM or the suicidal and repetitive kind? None of the above and all the better for it. Dendritic Arbor inhabits a very rare field where they can call Knelt Rote, and known for being obtuse and intense, companions, which is to say that Dendritic Arbor does not exist to please your expectations of what black metal should sound like.
Although their early material sounded like the black metal version of Man is the Bastard, Denditric Arbor have put aside the harsh noise element of their sound to become maybe even more obtuse rhythmically and create a more terrifying atmosphere. Even if some of their riffs possess the same type of repetitive intensity as Krallice, the band’s drummer opts for a less straight-forward path in rhythm to constantly catch the listener by surprise. Therefore, his blasting can stop at any moment and be marked by some brutal kicks to the cymbal and the snare or be as free and intense as it is complex.
If it wasn’t enough to put them in a category of their own, Dendritic Arbor also uses some sound-scaping elements via the inclusion of noise in between their splash of distortion. This intrusion of industrial elements reminds me of Spektr‘s Near death experience (Blooming amygdala) but with a more powerful, energetic and less atmospheric delivery. Whereas Spektr‘s music was meant to be appreciated in a dark room and alone, Dendritic Arbor offers a much more physical and confrontational performance on Romantic love. However, they do offer a more studio based track with Ewaste which provides a welcome break from the instrument and a fitting transition in this world of unbridled rage.
As for the riffs, their attack full of tremolo can be traced back as much to early Mayhem than to the more discordant albums recorded by Blut Aus Nord. Only the screams could be considered traditional for a black metal band but the rage of the delivery makes most of the painted face who fight for Satan sound ridiculous in comparison. The irony is that even if Dendritic Arbor‘s music is cold and harsh, it does not lack life and emotion. While they were searching for extremism, the quartet has found life in the most obscure of places. Romantic love is a dense and powerful recording that will catch you off guard at every turn.