This is Faith & Disease’s sixth release, and their first on the Projekt label. The gothic genre has divided a number of ways, providing a fairly diverse spectrum of bands to listen to. Projekt specializes in the ethereal and darkwave subgenres. Ethereal can be loosely defined (inasmuch as a genre can be) as quiet, slow, and exquisite, often with a focus on subdued strings and ghostly female vocals. I like to think of it as an aural river slowly winding its way through the moonlit forest of my mind.
Beneath the Trees is a lovely example of the genre, gently swaying from track to track. Each is unique, and extremely well done. The album is seamlessly created and produced, brimming over with soft, subtle guitars and a blend of more orchestral instruments. The percussion is languid, meshing seamlessly with the other instrumentation to provide a lush yet subdued backdrop for vocalists Dara Rosenwasser and Chalotte Sather.
Each track is excellent, but a few bear mention above and beyond that. “Banks of the Ohio” is listed as a ‘traditional murder ballad’ in the liner notes. The subtle effects on the vocals and the gentle twang of the mandolin create vivid images, even if they are a tad morbid (in an oddly relaxing manner). But this is goth, after all. “Born and Died on the 23rd” is also worth mentioning, if only for the way it brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it. The vocals go far above and beyond the already high standards set by previous songs, backed only by mournful acoustic guitar. I could gush about other tracks, but I’m running out of adjectives.
This is a very lucid, calm, and solid release. Definitely worth purchasing for those who enjoy the more ethereal gothic music. For those who enjoy bands such as Mazzy Star, or Dead Can Dance, this also worth checking out.