Band: Roots of the Old Oak
Title: The Devil and His Wicked Ways
Label: Hammerheart Records
Release date: 15 September 2023
Country: United Kingdom
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
The first time I listened to Roots of the Old Oak was their debut EP “Blót” from last year, a 4-track sample of what these guys were capable of. Their songs were resonating in my head for days, it was an addiction, mainly because the thick atmosphere they created; they play Death/Doom Metal and those slow tempos along with the low tuned guitars and the deep grunted vocals caught me.
Now, this trio from England have just released their new full-length album, and this time we have more than 42 minutes to enjoy their solemn sound. Starting with “I Defy Thee”, a slow chant, ominous and solid. Vocals here are cavernous, deep, threatening. The repetitive riff ends up living in your head, I can assure it to you. And drums are slooow… I know, yeah, it’s Doom Metal; in this album the guys in Roots of the Old Oak went for an even more Doom stuff. Oh and you can notice the blackened raspy voice at times, too.
Let me introduce you properly the members in Roots of the Old Oak:
Stuart Brogan – vocals (raspy), drums
Pete Rowland – vocals (deep growls), guitars
Mike Rowland – bass
Even if this band was formed in 2021, it’s not that these guys are newcomers into the Metal scene, they all played together in two bands before (Reign of Erebus and Slaughter of Souls) and did some other things…
They create great atmospheres, and the use of some keyboards helps in this purpose, like in “Cheating the Hangman”. This is an enchanting song, I enjoy the riffs, the keys in the background, the vocal aggression at some points… This track becomes like a mantra due to the repetition of the same “phrase” again and again.
Truth is that this is not a genre I listen to a lot, but I can recognise when great music is done. The song that gives name to the album has an alluring piano intro, and that melody is repeated at times all along the track in the background. Guitar and bass talk through some lazy notes, and let the vocals declame their particular speech. The atmosphere is thick and foggy, the kind I like.
There’s an instrumental piece, “Allfather (A Wanderers Tale)” where you can appreciate all the beauty of these slow riffs and resonating drums for almost 7 minutes. I particularly lose my mind in this track, the keyboards have an essential role for this captivating experience.
If I had to mention a “but…”, it wouldn’t be regarding the music, indeed. Listening to this album with my earphones (the way I always listen to music), I realize that the distortion in guitars is all in my left ear, and this creates a buzz that’s hard to get rid of, becoming a bit “too much” at times. Maybe I’d appreciate a bit more balance… Sorry, it’s just my opinion. But my general impression is that “The Devil and His Wicked Ways” is, if I can say it this way, “solid as a rock”. For me it’s 9/10 Sílvia
9/10 Epic Storm
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