Album Review: Oak - Disintegrate
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
Rolling back to 2018, Guilherme Henriques and Pedro Soares, both members of Gaerea at the time, found opportunity to develop their song writing in a different direction to the black metal outfit. The result was ‘Lone’, released in 2019. Oak’s existence was revealed, and they set about shaping their style amongst their peers. The ground trembled with the weight of their music, as their giant emerged.
‘Disintegrate’, the second release from the Portuguese atmospheric funeral doom duo is one, sprawling, disturbing, and captivating piece of work. Over the course of 44 minutes a cascade of riffs, ground shaking riffs, guttural roars and dragging drums fills the air. There are agonised riffs that capture the enormity of the band’s sound. Punishing segments explode in a frenzy, blast beats hammer out blistering signals. The pace slows into glacial timed movements. It’s powerful, massively powerful as the story is carved out.
There are clean guitars to counter the distortion, clean singing to balance the deep growls and grunts, gentle, almost ethereal moments of beauty which contrast with the huge power that surges through the music. It’s balanced delicately and throws surprises and challenges to the listener as you journey on. When Oak unleash, the effect is enormous. Even in the first few minutes there is a pendulous swing from calming, almost meditative section to a crushing, surging passage. All the while there is an underlying guitar tone that endures for the entire song.
‘Disintegrate’ speaks about the ascension to another mental and physical state. You can feel the creature, the subject of the song, who has been carrying the weight of the world on its shoulders, preparing to transcend to another state. It’s complex, harrowing, melancholic. The slow passages drag, emulating the tiredness of the creature.
It’ll be a challenge for many. The sheer enormity of the whole piece means you have to commit to sitting still and listening. But the rewards if you like your music to tell a story are here. With Lucas Ferrand adding bass, the sonic soundscape unravels in dramatic style. Dark, heaving with emotion, ‘Disintegrate’ is an ambitious but impressive piece of work.