Oak Pantheon - The Void - (8/10)
Published on August 27, 2014
Genre:Black / Folk
Agalloch probably had no idea what kind of inspiration they would be on young bands out there, being one of those bands by now that has spawned countless other groups that would eventually combine the harshness of black metal with a natural beauty and serenity. Minnesotan Oak Pantheon had managed to create some stir with their debut album From a Whisper in 2012, but The Void is not new material, but a completely remastered and remixed version of their 2011 debut EP.
Moreso than on their album, The Void displays strong influences from Agalloch, from the atmosphere over the hoarse rasps to the beautiful guitarwork. Now don’t get me wrong, Oak Pantheon are not an Agalloch copycat, but run along similar lines, which come through on most of the tracks. The majority of the album is slow to mid-paced, with only at the end introducing a few well-placed blastbeats, but mostly concentrating on building up a dense atmosphere that evokes these images of forests and rivers and whatnot.
The centrepiece of the EP is the two-part “Architect of the Void”, with the first part offering us vast instrumental passages full of atmosphere and a great guitar melody that threads through the whole song and after the calm acoustic interlude “Refuge” part two picks up this melody and embeds it into a far more black metal influenced environment, up to the above-mentioned blastbeats, creating a beautiful continuity that shows what the gentlemen Swenson and Sati are capable of.
The Void is a beautiful first exposure to Oak Pantheon’s black/folk metal and prepares you for later outputs, where they began to add some post metal elements into their sound, while keeping the core intact. If you have an affinity to the Agalloch school of metal, then this should be a surefire pick-up.