OAK: Disintegrate




FUNERAL DOOM/DEATH: Featuring two members of Portuguese black metal shapeshifters Gaerea with that band’s original drummer, Pedro Soares, rounding out this sturdy trio, Oak takes a decidedly different tack than their background hints at. Gone are the identity obscuring masks, uniform outfits, and melodic black metal played like newly minted lawnmower blades powering through dense underbrush and fire ant hills. While there are succinct windows in which Soares takes to his kit like a hummingbird on an energy drink and cocaine bender, Oak is mostly more about the slow ‘n’ low, the depressive ‘n’ dour, the melancholy ‘n’ molasses paced. Theirs is a world in which colossal walls of sound languidly linger after crashing into eardrum mechanisms where darkened pools of shimmering strings cascade down slippery rhythmic slopes, where dynamic shifts happen both at the blink of an eye and follow long lead-in times where it’s heard coming a mile away in the same way accidents and tragedies happen in slow motion, and where hooded masks are eschewed for jeans, t-shirts, and the raw dispatch of emotion stripped bare. 

Disintegrate is a single 45 minute long song with ambulations that climb and fall, ascend and descend, traverse and rappel to connect the worlds of morose tectonic doom, vitriolic death metal, and pensive post-metal. The slow parts are agonizingly protracted, drawn out, and reminiscent of a swath of Explosions in the Sky albums, Neurosis intros, and dISEMBOWELMENT dourness. The guitar deliberately churns out sinister tritone lurches at a snail’s pace with mountain ranges of space between notes as Guilherme Henriques fills the available spaces his instrument leaves with a persistent and inhuman roar. Suddenly, there’s a shift to barren and cinematic soundscapes, then just as suddenly, Disintegrate flies back to measured mauling provided by rapid fire machine gunning with a cleanliness and spaciousness maintained by spidery riffs and bright production quality. 

With Disintegrate being a chunk of long-haul heaviness largesse, it’s obviously a piece designed for immersive listens for one to absorb wholly, pick out the intra-song connections and thematic references, and experience its peaks and valleys as one emotional slingshot. Invest the time, dear listener, and be rewarded. ~ Kevin Stewart-Panko