Back in the beginning of September, we got some fantastic news I was unable to share due to workload: Oak Pantheon are back. The band are one of my favorite American Black Metal groups in operation today, making expansive, harrowing, and deeply moving black metal. That aforementioned track, “Bard of the Hell-Bent Ages”, seemed to come without an announcement of an upcoming album so I’m actually happy that I waited on covering it since I can now fix that: Oak Pantheon will be releasing The Absence on January 20th! Not only that, but I get to premiere another track from it, titled “Listen!”. It’s a rip-roaring, intricate, and boisterous track that blends aggression and melody in that unique Oak Pantheon way while showing us the band’s new bag of tricks; head on down below to check it out for yourself!
God damn, I love this band so much! The opening riff, groovy without giving up and inch of the black metal ferocity at its core, is one of their best yet. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that this track, as well as the previous single from the album, are some of the more intricate and dynamic pieces of music that Oak Pantheon have released. Everything feels more ecstatic, ready to burst out of the speakers and into the world, kicking and screaming. The black metal core is still there; the vocals are abrasive and epic, the riffs are written in the large mountain-scale of the genre, and the overall work has the intensity that the genre is so good for.
But listen to the nimble bass, the far-flung solos, and the way the clean vocals work into it all. This is the most complex we’ve heard Oak Pantheon, the band pushing their already impressive boundaries to new places, experimenting with the structure of their track and their compsoitional underpinnings. It’s safe to say we’ve never heard anything quite like the middle passage of “Listen!” from Oak Pantheon before, with its dance inducing rhythmic structure, sonorous bass, melodic vocals, and the way everything bleeds into the track’s fantastic outro.
Needless to say, these two piece of music have made me incredibly excited for The Absence. Pre-orders, more details, and everything you need for the release is dropping tomorrow, November 11th, over on the band’s Bandcamp page. Make sure you head on over to grab what is fast becoming one of my most anticipated 2023 releases (and there’s a bunch of those on the list by now).