Minnesota and death metal, is that a real thing up north? If Oak Pantheon has anything to say about it Minnesota and death metal will be become synonymous. Their newest creation to be out on a young upstart label out of the New York area called Broken Limb Recordings and if that label can attract talent like this, they will make their mark as well. At present Oak Pantheon is a duo made up of Sami Sati and Tanner Swenson and their brand of metal is not traditional Florida stuff like Deicide or Obituary but has a rather old school haunting European feel and vibe to it.
‘It’ is a haunting example of what this duo can do, great slow deliberate marching build. Heavy beats and riffs, great low end growls not overdone or over emphasized in any way. This is a longer track reminiscent of doom metal trademark, I guess one could almost call this doom. At times it may near impossible to classify stuff as death or doom, here its irrelevant, the music speaks for itself, creative, expressive, brutal, in short the hallmarks of good metal. The architecture is also darkly illustrated in ‘We Will Tear Down The Gods’, which is an eerie acoustic laden number with whispers and growls in all the right places. These two tracks alone create such a bleak soundscape almost as if one is lost in a wintry forest captivated by the beauty and fear that each step holds.
‘Aspen’ is so well constructed that it reminds me of Enslaved and Opeth. Not that this duo are worshipping or imitating the two aforementioned bands but rather celebrating the way that these two masters construct and design their songs. The vocals remind me of the work Grutle Kjellson did on “Axioma Ethica Odini” again not imitating or copying just gave me that feeling. The title track to the release is just another example on construction and testament to just how deep the good tracks go on this release. There are eight tracks and the title track is at the seven position, no fillers here all metal goodness.
When a release is able to conjure up the emotion and memories associated with masters of their craft without sound like rip-offs it has truly made a watermark. “From A Whisper” is such a release. It not only gave me memories of masters it also sounded so well produced and mixed its hard to believe that this was done so early in a career. Oak Pantheon is testament that metal beauty and glory and come from nowhere with no major label backing. That is one of the best things about this genre, the ability to pan gold from the streams that now run even into Minnesota. This is metal done right and everyone should scoop this one up when it is released, no one will be disappointed, and proof again that Americans can do this style right and proud.