Oak Pantheon: From a whisper
30/10/12 || gk
Oak Pantheon debuted last year with a self released EP that was pretty good but a little too close to early Agalloch. A year later, the duo is back with their first full length and there’s a fair bit of progression from the “Void” EP.
What this duo has done successfully on “From a whisper” is mix mid-paced extreme metal and rich acoustic melodies to create a sound that is quite original while still staying true to their roots. Album opener Descend into winter starts slow with a melodic riff that slowly builds in momentum and adds subtle changes to the riffing as the song goes on. This is a somewhat laid back and mellow opener that works quite well. “It” starts with some somber keys before going off into a moody mid-paced riff. The main body of the song, particularly the riff in the verse section is ridiculously catchy and the interplay between clean and harsh vocals works quite well here. We will tear down the gods is acoustic and almost folk like with a memorable melody and catchy vocal lines and the use of a harsher raspy vocal over the acoustic guitar is unexpected but works quite well. The song ends with another superb melody as the tempo shifts to being more upbeat and the electric guitars kick in. “Aspen” might be the most overtly black metal song here but again, it’s loaded with memorable riffs and a sense of melody that unifies.
There’s some quality musicianship on “From a whisper”. Tanner Swenson and Sami Sati are impressive in their use of melody as also the effortless blending of traditional heavy metal elements with slight touches of black and death metal with acoustic passages that are almost folk. There’s an atmosphere of melancholy and longing right through this album that’s quite captivating. I suppose you could trace their roots back to early Agalloch and Opeth but Oak Pantheon are on their way to discovering their own sound and identity. In fact I’d say these guys are closest to fellow American duo The Flight of Sleipnir in mixing elements from various metal sub-genres with acoustic elements without actually sounding like anybody else.
The one complaint I have about “From a whisper” is that some of these songs tend to go on for too long. With the album stretching past the 60 minute mark it could have used some trimming. Still, for a debut full length this is quite impressive. Anyone into extreme metal should find something to like on “From a whisper” and Oak Pantheon is another young American band to keep an eye on.
- Released: 2012
- Label: Broken Limbs Recordings
- Website: Oak Pantheon Bandcamp
- Tanner Swenson: guitars, vocals, drums, bass
- Sami Sati: guitars, vocals, drums
- 01. Descend into Winter
- 02. It
- 03. We Will Tear Down the Gods
- 04. Aspen
- 05. The Ground Beneath You
- 06. Roots of Man
- 07. From a Whisper
- 08. An Altar of Limbs