Rewinding back to a time where the punk music scene was brimming with unorthodox blends of hardcore and post-rock, the mention of Men As Trees reverberates through the hall of fond remembrance. This screamo outfit from Michigan, USA, masterfully fused the sprawling structures of post-rock with the emotionally intense core of screamo, creating a unique audioscape that became their signature style.
Established in 2003 by brothers Andrew and Jason, Men As Trees crafted a discography that pulses with an urgency reflective of the era. Their journey saw them performing numerous shows throughout the United States and Europe, creating waves of impact with their impassioned performances until their dissolution in 2010. However, much like a phoenix, the essence of the band was reborn in 2012 under the name Locktender.
Now, in a celebration of their impact and legacy, their most notable album “Weltschmerz” will see its first-ever vinyl release on August 1, 2023. The album, originally released in 2008, was available only on CD and cassette, making this vinyl release a much-anticipated event. Fans and newcomers alike can now experience this masterpiece on a timeless format, breathing new life into their sonic manifesto.
Also featured in this release are reimagined versions of the last two songs Men As Trees ever penned: “Wreckage” and “Which,” tracks that previously only saw light in their 2008 split-EP with State of Man and Discovery. This vinyl release, a result of a partnership with I Corrupt Records, is a momentous testament to a band that may have ceased to exist but continues to influence and inspire.
The world changes, revolutions come and go, but the power of music — its ability to stir souls, challenge norms, and tell stories — remains constant. Men As Trees embodied that power, and ‘Weltschmerz‘ is their lasting legacy.
Men as Trees was the creative amalgamation of Andrew Kallicragas, Jason Kallicragas, and Frank Tedeschi, who brought their individual talents together to paint a sonic landscape that was as striking as it was poignant.
“Weltschmerz,” their seminal album, was enhanced by the bass grooves and additional vocals from Kyle Babcock, and the violin strains by Matt “Mick” Evans, further adding to the unique soundscape. The album was a tribute to Dick Proenneke, a naturalist whose solitary life in the Alaskan wilderness was chronicled in the 2004 film “Alone in the Wilderness.” The samples from this film used in the album underscored the band’s message of individuality and perseverance against societal expectations. Sean Vinci recorded and mixed the album at his home studio in Pontiac, Michigan in 2007, capturing the raw energy of the band in its purest form.
Their last compositions, the Sea of Ice Songs, featured the bass and additional vocals of Nick Yonce. These songs drew inspiration from the painting “Sea of Ice” by German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich, leading the band towards a deeper exploration of Friedrich’s works in their subsequent endeavor, Locktender. These tracks were recorded and engineered by Sean Vinci, Jeff Vacca, and Chris Woll at JSM Music in New York City in 2008.
Mastering duties were handled by Blake Bickel at Dynamic Sound Service, ensuring the final product remained true to the band’s sound and ethos. The artwork was brought to life by Brok Leshman, with the layout expertly designed by Matt Quietsch.
Men As Trees extended their heartfelt gratitude to Ingo for his enduring friendship and support over 15 years, and for his continued belief in their music.
This re-release serves not just as a nod to the past, but also as a testament to enduring friendships and the power of music to transcend time.