(We are very fortunate to welcome back our friend Justin Collins (who spends most of his writing time over at Metal Bandcamp) with this guest review of the new album by Oskoreien, accompanied by a very interesting short interview of Oskoreien’s creator, as well as Justin’s equally interesting thoughts about the album’s subject matter.)
It was not even two months ago that we got to reacquaint ourselves with Oskoreien — the excellent but long-quiet black metal project of Jay Valena. Oskoreien contributed two songs to a split with Botanist. (Read my babble about it here.) I, for one, was very pleased to hear Oskoreien again, and was pleasantly surprised to listen to Valena try his hand at a decidedly more electronic sound than what he’d given us on his black-metal-meets-acoustic full-length. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that Oskoreien would be putting out a second album, All Too Human, hot on the heels on that split.
What kind of direction would Valena take this time? My first introduction to the album was a one-sentence description that Islander passed on to me from Valena, stating that, “It’s a concept album about free will inspired by the story of Charles Whitman.”
EDITOR’S INTRO: Thanks to rendezvous points such as Maryland Deathfest and Migration Fest, we’ve learned that our allies at Metal Bandcamp are not only great writers with dependably good taste in music, they are also very fine human beings. And so it’s with great pleasure that we’re able to bring you this guest review of a fantastic new split by the California one-man projects Botanist and Oskoreien written by Metal Bandcamp’s Justin Collins. We ardently hope this will not be the last time he graces our pages with his words.
A few days ago, Islander gave us a preview of an Oskoreien song from an upcoming split with Botanist. I’ve made no secret of my enthusiasm for Botanist (see here and here and here ad nauseum), so I’m going to delve into Botanist’s side first, with no disrespect meant to Oskoreien.
BOTANIST – GREEN METAL
Most people probably know about Botanist by now, but I always feel compelled to give a beginner’s course when I talk about new Botanist music, because there’s no easy summing up of this project. (If you know this spiel and want to go all “Choose Your Own Adventure,” skip ahead to paragraph 5 now.)
On October 15, two very interesting and very talented one-man bands from California — Oskoreien and Botanist — will release an album-length split. The Oskoreien side is called Deterministic Chaos; the Botanist side is named Green Metal. Later this week we will be publishing a special guest review of the split, but what we have for you today is the premiere of one of Oskoreien’s two contributions on the split, “Without You I’m Nothing“.
Oskoreien is the alter ego of L.A.-based Jay Valena. This split is Oskoreien’s fourth release overall, with the last being a 2011 self-titled debut album. Along the way, Oskoreien’s music hasn’t followed a single, predictable path, instead reflecting variations in style and strategy. Of the two tracks on Deterministic Chaos, the title song is a 13-minute piece, and the one you’re about to hear is an unusual cover song.