Dendritic Arbor- “Romantic Love”

Dendritic Arbor- "Romantic Love"

Sometimes as a music writer, one may receive an album looks poised to write its own review. Whether it’s a known act doing more of the same, a producer’s obvious hand, or an album called Romantic Love that is anything but beautiful, there are certain indicators that your work may be slightly less strained. However, when presented with a strange mutation of some of metal’s darker and unstable forms, acts like Dendritic Arbor can and will give writers an opportunity to get lost in shape-shifting exercises. In this review, we’re going to work together to try to comprehend this teetering and unpredictable yet wholly addictive blend of queasy grindcore, black metal, and noise offered up by Dendritic Arbor in collaboration with one-stop boutique label Grimoire Records.


Albums like Romantic Love don’t come along nearly as often as they should, although perhaps it’s the infrequency of such gems that has allowed this album to become so instantly memorable. A large part of this is that while all the elements seem familiar on the surface, taking a closer look at any given musical component here yields something slightly removed from its natural state, almost alien when sat with for too long. This growing perplexity works in reverse when compared to many similarly “off” or challenging releases, yet it teases the curiosity and imagination in the most delightfully morbid way. When songs like “Ceremony of Dust” become cyclical with their building frenzy, it’s like the buzzing of flies around a corpse; the feeling is maddening and almost disgusting, yet it comes so naturally and beautifully.

Feeding into the filth here is a gutter’s eye view of things that is only enhanced by passages of pure noise both inside and between songs, thanks to a helping hand from Topon Das of Fuck the Facts, Noel Mueller of Grimoire Records, and a few other friends of the band. Dendritic Arbor’s churning, nauseating blasts of chaos are only heightened and made more unsettling with the aid of these talented friends, and I really hope the band is able to incorporate this into a live setting, as it seems it could make for potent and terrifying experience. The only real weakness I can find on Romantic Love is that even with a few minutes of padding from the noise segments, this release barely clocks in at half an hour in length. While the effectiveness of the music could be argued to diminish at a greater length, this is one of those rare beasts that could have easily held three more tracks and stood just as strong. Let’s hope this gives us more to look forward to soon. For now, you can experience Dendritic Arbor’s unconventional brand of love on either cassette or CD and prepare yourselves for what horrors may await.