On March 11, 2018, a Portuguese duo who have taken the name Oak entered Stone Sound Studio in Portugal and made a live recording of a composition called “Sculptures“. The performance was filmed, and now we present both the song and the video to the public for the first time.
Our interest in Oak began when we learned that the two men in the project are also members of the Portuguese black metal band Gaerea, whose debut EP was one of the best shorter releases of 2016 (and one we wrote about repeatedly, both before and after its release, including a post in which we named “Void of Numbness” to our list of the year’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs“).
But in Oak, the two participants have turned their talents in the direction of funeral doom/death — and what they’ve accomplished just with this one song is strikingly impressive.
“Sculptures” is a musical spellcaster of a high order, one that rises slowly like a haunting mist across a barren plain and then steadily grows in emotional power and intensity. The deep thump and boom of the drums beat like a dying leviathan heart, but the pulse quickens, just as the song’s heart-aching melody becomes more despairing and the vocalist’s grim, cavernous growls become howls of pain.
As the pace subsides again, the mesmerizing guitar reverberations signal the return of a soulful, spectral visitation, eventually joined by a tumbling, rhythmically compulsive drum progression. And then the weight of crushing grief descends like a collapsing mountain — the music becomes staggeringly heavy, and then mounts toward a crescendo of blasting, thundering drums, scything riffs, and ravaging roars.
The intensity crests, and what’s left in its wake are final heartbeats and ghost-lights, echoing and shimmering across that barren plain in the mind’s eye.
Yes indeed, it’s a spellbinding song, but it is still a work in progress. The final version of the song will be included on Oak’s debut album, which is now being recorded in the same Stone Sound Studio in Portugal with sound engineer and producer Ricardo Oliveira (who has worked with Colosso and The Ominous Circle, among others). We’ll be anxiously awaiting its completion.
We’re also happy to report that Oak will be making their first live appearance on March 24th in an ancient chapel in the north of Portugal, with our friends in Bell Witch. Tickets are available HERE.
“Sculptures” is available for download now, on Bandcamp; it features artwork by Pedro Soares.