REVIEW: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ “Skeleton Tree”

Written and recorded following the death of Cave’s teenage son, this is no “Tears in Heaven” bullshit.

skeleton-treeNick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree (Bad Seeds Ltd.)

Nothing leaves a deeper mark on art like tragedy, and for an artist like Nick Cave, who has dealt with the intertwining of heartbreak and mortality for most of his career, it’s quite something to say this is his heaviest album yet. But given that this record was made in the wake of the death of one of his teenage sons, how could it not be? Cave’s familiar shades of darkness and light colour the stages of grief (minus denial), from the haunting grind of “Jesus Alone” to the elegiac uplift of “Skeleton Tree.” The album’s first half is particularly striking, its production crackling with a brooding atmosphere to match its devastating lyrics. 8/10 Trial Track: “Rings of Saturn”