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The Man-Eating Tree
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Tuomas Tuominen
Janne Markus
Mikko Uusimaa
(Bass )
Heidi Määttä
(Keyboards Vesa Ranta - Drums)

Despite recording their sophomore album during a time when Finland was suffering from the worst heat wave in many years “Harvest” turned out gloomy as hell. It will require you daring to dip your toes into its rocking maelstrom, but it’ll take until about halfway into the album to really hit you. By the time you reach its final track it will have sucked you in. Still, there is always light, even where darkness dwells. Likewise, even though it might not be entirely obvious, the season of autumn also marks the beginning of something new - and there is always lots of hope in starting something new.
You won’t find it too surprising that the title “Harvest” is a reference to the Finnish autumn. Vesa Ranta (drums, formerly Sentenced) explains: “To me autumn is a very creative season and describes the album very well. With the recording of this album we went to the fullest - in a way we are ‘harvesting life’ with it.” Guitarist Janne Markus (ex-Poisonblack) started working on new songs even before their debut “Vine” was out, so they never slowed down the songwriting process.
While playing the first shows for “Vine” Janne noticed that just one guitar wouldn’t be sufficient in order to create the right depth and soundscape that was needed for their music. Hence, THE MAN-EATING TREE recruited Antti Karhu (of the local band Clock Paradox), a talented guitarist from Oulu who added his very own touch to their music. He even wrote a song for the album, “Exhaled”, which turned out to be the heaviest track.“Right after the first few shows our FOH commented on how much it rocks when you can grind with two axes”, recalls Janne. The setup has been nothing, but excellent for the live sound and chemistry on stage since Antti joined.
Yet again they recorded the album with an old acquaintance of theirs, Hiili Hiilesmaa (i.a. HIM, Sentenced, Moonspell). Vesa alone has produced more than half a dozen albums with him. Janne comments:“I have personally fallen in love with his creative madness. He really pushes everyone in the studio to give at least 110%. Hiili was involved in the smallest details that didn’t even cross our minds from playing guitar to the general soundscapes.” The base tracks were recorded at Mastervox Studio in Oulu which allowed the band to be with their families, making the recording very convenient. Still, the tracking of the vocals and the mixing was done at Hiilesmaa’s own Yellow House Studio in the South of Finland while the mastering was taken care of by Janne Tolsa in his Note On Studio in Kuopio. The band had met Janne T. as keyboardist of Tarot when the two bands were touring Europe in the winter of 2010 and became friends ever since.

Vesa, who works as a professional photographer and graphic designer, explains why the music of THE MAN-EATING TREE does and will always have a close link to nature that is also reflected in the artwork: “The beauty and bleakness of nature are very present. I believe that the concept of THE MAN-EATING TREE doesn’t incorporate concrete suburbs, instead a lot derives from nature.” Janne adds: “Being Finnish is a vital part of my personality and I am sure it can be heard in our music as well. Why not, it’s a major part of our band and our sound. The Finnish romanticism and wistfulness are definitely there and always will be.” Vesa further comments: “Of course our Finnish roots are embedded in our music. We Finns are a relatively melancholic nation. This is our and the overall Finnish state of mind that is displayed on the album. The album is very ambient, but it’s the typical Finnish ambience with those dark shades. Still, there is light somewhere far on the horizon.” A duality that you can also find in the Tuomas Tuominen’s lyrics: “I did find myself writing again these dreamlike textures that blend surreal with the real. I love the haze that can be weaved around the horrors we as men so passionately create - for each other and all other life here. Yes, I do worry when I read the papers or watch the news.
These do have a bad habit of going into my blend. I have written about oppression, war and big, bad machines - all is it were a bad dream. One central theme has been time - how it is the ultimate weapon.
Though it's a bitch to aim, it will relentlessly kill everyone. No way to defuse or disarm.”
Still, these gloomy thoughts aren’t the end of the story: “Most importantly, I have written about hope.”
The last song of the album, “Karsikko”, isn’t just the closing track of the album, but also a reflection of the current, contemplative feeling in the band as well as a summary of the entire album and its atmosphere. In order to capture the right sound of the organ they were aiming for the authentic ambience of a church. Luckily they found an open-minded cantor who was willing to participate in the project in order to create a very unique and special song. Much like a candle sending its brave, warm glow into darkness…