Last year, Portugal’s Gaerea blew me away with one of the more expansive and adventurous black metal records I’d heard in a good while in Unsettling Whispers. When I heard that members of the band had formed a death-doom project called Oak I low key lost my mind. “Sculptures”, the first track off of the band’s first album, Lone, is an absolutely harrowing affair, and I couldn’t be more excited to write about it exclusively here at Heavy Blog Is Heavy!
As songwriters, the boys from Gaerea enjoy taking their sweet precious time letting tracks develop. The same could be said for “Sculptures”. Opening with a spacey slow-build of a riff that fills the track with a glowering atmosphere for about three of its sixteen minutes, it’s as meditative an introduction as we got from Unsettling Whispers’ opener “Svn”. But when the chunky riffs finally do kick in, as we knew they would, damn do they sound good. Guilherme Henriques’ vocals are a gargled, throaty revelation, adding a metric ton of weight to the already titanic proceedings. His patience on the guitar is also admirable, showcasing how a hefty amount of restraint and discipline can propel a piece of music to greatness. The track slowly descends into another section of atmospheric solitude, which eventually bursts into a death-doom finale for the ages, featuring some superb drumming by Pedro Soares that feels absolutely cathartic following the infinitely patient world building of the tracks first two thirds. It’s a patient, gorgeous, and punishing track that only points toward incredible things for Oak.
If you’re a fan of Mournful Congregation, Loss, Evoken, or Slow, the deliberate and punishing vibes of “Sculptures” will fit squarely into your wheelhouse. It’s an excellent track by a band I will be keeping my eyes on now and in the future. If your day needs a healthy dose of doom, look no further than “Scupltures”.