Oak Pantheon – ‘Gathering II’ (split 2018)
Release: 5 November 2018
Label: Independent / Bandcamp
Two of my favorite acts from Minnesota here in the US are epic Amiensus and the equally killer Oak Pantheon. Both have released amazing music over the years including a split EP entitled “Gathering” from 2013 which featured 1 song from each so EP is stretching it but was pretty sweet nonetheless. They have decided to revisit this collaboration 5 years later now with the release of “Gathering II” which features 3 tracks this time around. I know it’s probably a little hard to get excited about 3 tracks but in this case you will. Before you even get to the music you have to love the artwork created for it with 2 versions created I guess whether you opt to download from Amiensus or Oak Pantheon but both are beautiful. One phrase I kept repeating in my head while listening was “return to form” for both bands and allow me to explain. Firstly, Amiensus’ last release (“All Paths Lead To Death”) was much heavier and more black metal than their previous releases…..although I love this and rated it highly, I still prefer the more melancholy, dirgey other material they have recorded. Oak Pantheon’s last effort was the acoustic “Sol” EP released earlier this year which was definitely ambitious, but I thought missed the mark overall as just not being them. So now this split arrives and “return to form” is apropos for both bands as they sailed back into more familiar waters material wise for me. There is a track from each and then a super collaborative track with both bands. The total run time is about 19 minutes with the individual tracks being over 7 minutes and the collaboration at about 4 ½ minutes. The EP starts with “A Demonstration” by Oak Pantheon and is super killer, straddling some acoustic material with their heavier and semi-trippier side which has the right blend of both. The collaboration track “Tanequil” is next which I think really melds influences by both in terms of style, songwriting and structure. It has the same trajectory in terms of acoustic beginning into an electric/heavier track. The EP closes with an incredible new track by Amiensus entitled “Now Enters Dusk” which brings me back to the release of their monumental “Restoration” album from 2013 which is still a must listen every week sort of album. The track features all of the Amiensus trappings…..heavy and clean/choral vocals layered over killer riffing and blast beats. All 3 tracks here are awesome with the only problem I have is that it is only 3 tracks as I think that another track or 2 could have made this truly epic…..that is me just wanting more of this. While not recorded and mixed necessarily together, the tracks all have the same feel and quality to them, so it doesn’t have that mix/compilation sound disparity you sometimes here. If you are not familiar with either band, this might be a good introduction but doesn’t really incapsulate everything they have both done up to this point.
My suggestion? Buy everything they both have put out to date…. you won’t be disappointed. Great release.
- Oak Pantheon – A Demonstration 07:16
- Amiensus & Oak Pantheon – Tanequil 04:33
- Amiensus – Now Enters Dusk 07:36