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Bentrees – Two of Swords

Two of Swords
by Gary Hernandez at 29 January 2022, 11:34 PM

In the minor arcana of a standard tarot deck, the two of swords represents the duality present in balance or conflict, a decision to be made, a crossroads. BENTREES, Stoner Rock duo from Sardinia, Italy, explore “duality in its multiple forms”—a theme inherent in said card—on their latest album, aptly named “Two of Swords,” released November 19, 2021 via Argonauta Records. “Two of Swords”—suitable name for a sophomore album, btw—is a more refined Bentrees than we heard on their 2017 debut album, “Psychollage.” The album is sludgy and deliberate, taking its time to explore all the crevices of this fuzzy Psych landscape.

While the album only features six tracks, they are small behemoths, each weighing in at over eight minutes, bringing the full runtime to six minutes shy of an hour. And here’s the thing about long track, Stoner and Doom albums—if you don’t dig the particular musical motif they’re explicating on any given track, it’s going to be a long arduous trip. For me, I found a little more than half the tracks utterly compelling and the other fairly good. Standout tracks include “Sunrise and Sunset,” “Yellow, “Flowing Waters,” and “Dust ‘n’ Gold.”

I should note that I really like the album cover artwork by Andrea Cara, although it’s technically not a true depiction of two of swords—e.g., the woman is only wielding one blade, unless you consider the unravelling scroll as a sword . . . which may be an interesting reference to the pen as a sword. I think the band also missed a trick by releasing the album two weeks after the end of the card’s degree timing (Sep 21 – Sep 30), but I guess this is Stoner Rock and not Shamanistic Black Metal.

The production values are excellent, and Riccardo’s clean vocals never get tiresome. You can also discern the lyrics, so that’s a bonus. The album isn’t heavy enough to be considered Metal, but it’s also too heavy to be a Rock album—and here more duality comes into play. Bentrees brand of Stoner Rock plays more to the Heavy Pysch side of the spectrum than the groove-laden Stoner side. Lyrically it’s introspective philosophical matters more than spaceships, muscle cars, or stone-cold women. Nevertheless, “Two of Swords” is well worth the entry price, though you may find yourself dropping a little more to pick up their first album as well.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1.  Sunrise and Sunset
2.  Yellow
3.  Hermit
4.  Brain War
5.  Flowing Waters
6.  Dust 'n' Gold
Riccardo Podda – Vocals, guitars
Mauro Cocco – Drums
Record Label: Argonauta Records


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Edited 28 March 2023

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