Sunday 27 August 2023

EYES OF THE OAK ~ THE STONE VORTEX ... review

 

So what do you expect to hear from a band whose membership is made up of musicians from a diverse range of influences that range from black metal all the way through to punk rock, well what you wont be expect is the sound Swedish groovsters Eyes Of The Oak bring to the table with their debut release "The Stone Vortex". Eyes Of The Oak hail from S√∂dermanland County, Sweden, and their groove consists of an enthralling hybrid blend of psych-doom, stoner rock, prog, post metal and drone that doesn't quite lend itself wholly to either genre yet will appeal to fans of each.

Eyes Of The Oak open their account with title track "The Stone Vortex" a mid-tempo doom tinted tome that grabs you with its droning and heavily phased guitar intro and refuses to let go until you have witnessed its very last dying note, filling your ears with bluesy guitar solo's, crunching power chords and melodic vocal harmonies along the way. "Dead and Alive" follows and boasts a groove and vocal melody that fellow Swedes Ghost would be proud to have in their repertoire only delivered with a touch more grittiness and bite than the current version of Ghost could ever hope to muster. Next track "Evil Old Trees" is for Desert Psychlist the highlight of the album, a low slow and doomy opus replete with soaring bluesy guitar solos, growling bass and ponderous pummelling percussion decorated with a gravelled and menacing semi spoken/whispered vocal, for those who like their grooves torch-like and atmospheric this is manna from heaven. Heavily phased guitars riffs and punchy proto-doomic rhythms inform next track "First Sign of Life", aligned with a vocal that has an epic doom almost Viking metal feel to it while "Hex of the Season" weaves prog, post metal and even a little doomic shoegaze into its sonic tapestry. Final number "The Mirror Maze" finds Eyes Of The Oak shoe-horning everything from goth metal to proggish occult rock into a song that soars and plummets between tasteful and discordant without overly committing to either.


Eyes Of The Oak's "The Stone Vortex" is one of those albums that seemingly comes out of nowhere and then precedes to just blow you away from minute one, an album that ticks all the right boxes plus those boxes you didn't realise even needed ticking. Sweden has given us some great bands over the years and Eyes OF The Oak are another to add to that list.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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