Tree of Life is a multi-national instrumental prog metal band with roots in Christian faith. As I have mentioned before, I am an Atheist. But I really don’t have any issue with Christian bands so long as the topics are not overtly religious. All of this is completely avoided with Tree of Life since they are INSTRUMENTAL! With song titles that contain the words “God,” “Heaven,” and “Salvation,” there’s no mistaking what their beliefs are. But it just assures that this will be uplifting music.
The band is made up of guitarist Carlos Hernandez, bassist Fernando Fossi and most notably Eric Gillette of the Neal Morse Band. Gillette plays guitar for Neal but on “Awakening Call,” he is on drums and keyboards. I had no idea he was just as talented on those instruments as well. At times, this album is a bit of a shredfest but Hernandez can flat out play so I don’t mind that. I do wish he would use a melodic guitar hook more often instead of going for broke each time out.
Still, it’s Gillette who is the MVP. His drum fills are always tasteful and he keyboard playing is nothing short of sublime. Whether it’s the piano solo on “The Greatest Of All The Gifts Of God” or the synth playing on “Words From Heaven,” he sounds GREAT and always chooses the right instrument for the song. Fossi is a talented bassist to be sure but his role is to provide a foundation for each song rather than solo. I do wish he had the spotlight at some point.
Every track on “Awakening Call” is really great and varied enough that you can easily separate the style and mood for each. The songs that need to kick some ass do just that! It’s like Liquid Tension Experiment meets Neal Morse I guess but without the obvious Christian message. Good music is good music regardless of faith and Tree of Life prove that on “Awakening Call.”
1. The Greatest Of All The Gifts Of God
2. Words From Heaven
3. Garden Of Salvation
4. No Longer Forbidden
5. Awakening Call