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Oak Pantheon: From a Whisper

This album surprised me. I'm not sure what I expected, but I wasn't ready for the variety of songwriting skills here, not to mention the generally strong sound of this album. There are so many bands these days that are doing the same things, especially with the sounds of Death metal, that I usually feel like shrugging my shoulders when somebody new comes along. With From a Whisper, I figured I'd get more of the same old thing. I mean, look at the song titles here: "Descend into Winter," "We Will Tear Down the Gods," "The Ground Beneath You." I mean, I get it--winter is despairing, forests are gloomy, and you don't like the hegemonic power of Christendom. All you have to do now is add in some rainstorm sound effects and you've got yourself an album.

All sarcasm aside, I'm pleased to report that this album genuinely reaches beyond the clichéd sounds of some extreme metal these days and tries to do something more interesting. I mean, sure, some of the elements are here, including the rainstorm sounds, but the songs honestly try to take listeners in surprising new directions. The things that stood out to me were the songs that drew on long acoustic passages, (mostly the strumming of big, open chords) and fairly clean singing. I can't explain all the reasons why, but I found myself drawn to the mellowness of the whole thing. I was especially pleased that the mellower songs didn't try too hard to incorporate the growl / clean alternating that other bands use.

When these guys are going for the melodic, mellow, stuff, they sound great; when they are employing full death metal mode, they aren't quite as good. The only exception, for me, was the song "It," but that's mostly because I'm a big Stephen King fan and I was hoping that this song, like King's novel, was trying to figure out the meaning of the monstrous in our lives. I suppose I had a few other little quibbles. For example, some of the songs are simply too long. By the time I got to the end of the album, I found myself wondering whether these guys should choose one sound over the other. To me, they are so much better at the acoustic stuff that I'd like to see them pursue that path more extensively. I love death metal, but not everyone needs to stick to the scene. See, for instance, the latest work by Opeth.

Track Listing:
1. Descend into Winter
2. It
3. We Will Tear Down the Gods
4. Aspen
5. The Ground Beneath You
6. Roots of Man
7. From a Whisper
8. An Altar of Limbs

Added: October 3rd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2571
Language: english

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