I really enjoyed Portugal’s Oak’s debut album, in 2019 – Lone.  As one would expect with funeral death/doom metal the songs are ultra-long.  The debut album had four songs and the album length exceeded 50 minutes.  Lots of atmospherics and plodding and bludgeoning heaviness.  The music never got into that sludgy type of style, just very atmospheric and depressive in terms of the musical style and arrangements.  The band had some dISEMBOWELMENT abrupt blast beats which really were pretty neat because the song would then shift to the slow doomy parts.

The gruesome twosome, Pedro Soares, drums, and Guilherme Henriques vocals/guitars, and a session bassist return with the follow-up album Disintegrate.  This is where things get a bit dicey because rather than have an album with a few tracks Oak opted to create one long song and it’s the album title.  This gets into some tough listening territory since a lot of the musical public has more or less a short attention span so if they do not like a song they will move on to the next track.  When having one long song, that option is removed.  I would imagine, though, when dealing with funeral doom/death fans they may be more inclined to stick around for the duration since they understand the genre so well and most of all…have patience.

“Disintegrate” opens with atmospheric guitars taken right out of the dISEMBOWELMENT playbook.  Soft in nature and this continues for three and a half minutes.  Remember this song is 44 minutes therefore Oak has time to spare, the vocals hit a minute later with this heavy, doomy, and depressive moment.  Excellent deep and gruff vocals sound like old Paradise Lost, so you know they’re pretty ass-kicking.  The funeral doom/death march slowly crawls, then more atmospherics which goes on for a bit until right before the 9-minute mark the song picks up a little speed, still slow, but the double bass definitely is a tempo shifter for sure…More dirge and death and about halfway into the track more atmospheric sounds which last a few minutes until the plodding main beat returns until around the 29-minute marker the song slows even more.  Pained and anguished vocals then the drum roll and you guessed it – right into a blast beat, and the song gets right back into the doom/death crawl.  More atmospherics, with some softer whispered vocals and then the main slow crawl returns, with a nifty ethereal guitar solo, then back into the crawl and there you have it, end of the album.

Oak’s Disintegrate is ambitious and requires the listener to have patience because, for the majority of the song’s duration, it’s the same funeral doom/death march and sound.  The mixing of atmospherics definitely breaks up the monotony, however, the atmospherics are all quite similar.  The production captures the dense heaviness of Oak with the guitars truly shining on this, in terms of sound.

Honestly, there is more funeral doom on this than what these ears are accustomed to.  I would have preferred to have had the song broken up into a few different tracks, like their debut, and maybe some more variety.  At the end of the day, if you enjoy your funeral marches super long and have always been looking for a band do just do one long AF track, well look no further than Disintegrate, from Oak.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 18th, 2023


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