Oak Pantheon
From a Whisper


4.0
excellent

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
November 30th, 2012 | 28 replies | 2,369 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If folky, atmospheric (black) metal is your thing, Oak Pantheon have just what you need

Like Oak Pantheon proclaim on From a Whisper’s first song, titled "Descend Into Winter", here comes the snow indeed. Let me make this very clear: I don’t hate snow, and I’m all for cold, but in a weird way, winter is definitely my least favorite season. Harsh truth about life: people aren’t jolly during winter like they are in the movies, not where I live at least. No, in Estonia, people are usually grumpy, introverted and pissed about the weather during winter (on the other hand, we’re always pissed off about the weather – there’s even a local saying that Estonia = 12 months of shitty skiing weather). It’s no wonder then, that it’s during winter that I spend a big chunk of my time indoors, studying, relaxing, sleeping or listening to quality music. Yes, if I had to pick the season where music has the biggest impact on my life, it’d definitely be winter (though autumn comes close). There’s nothing like sitting next to a fire (or a radiator, whatever) on a cold winter night and putting on your favorite atmospheric metal records. Well, it’s not quite winter yet, but it has started snowing down here and the feel of winter is slowly but surely creeping near, so it’s again time to turn to my collection of "winter" metal. Every year I add a few records to that collection, though, and one record that I have already added there in 2012 is Oak Pantheon’s From a Whisper.

It will be impossible to get through this review without mentioning the name Agalloch, because there are a ton of similarities between Oak Pantheon and the atmospheric metal masters from the US. The overall sound (melancholic folk metal with a wide range of influences, starting from black metal and concluding with post-rock), the lyrical themes (nature, heathenry) and even the vocals (it is a fine impression of John Haughum that Oak Pantheon’s two members Tanner Swenson and Sami Sati put on). It wouldn’t even be an overstatement to call the band Agalloch junior. Oak Pantheon do have a special weapon though: unlike many acts who play atmospheric, folky black metal, Oak Pantheon are actually really good at compositions and while the similarities towards Agalloch are undeniable, From a Whisper manages to sound surprisingly fresh. The metal- and acoustic parts are in perfect balance, the echoey clean vocals compliment the music nicely and the instrumentation as a whole is just really well done. The drums pummel where they need to pummel, the fast black metal-inspired sections and tremolo picking come in at just the right times, and there are some really solid riffs and melodies on offer. Listening to From a Whisper is like going to the movies and rediscovering your appetite for (great) films, because I for one went on a week-or-two-long atmospheric black metal spree right after I had heard this album.

There’s not much to complain about From a Whisper. The compositions are tight, the acoustic parts flow like a river instead of meandering around meaninglessly, all of the album’s 63 minutes are well used by Oak Pantheon, and the record sounds like a truly heartfelt piece of music that the two members of the band invested in greatly. If I were to bring up a few minor flaws, though, they would be the harsh vocals and the production. The harsh vocals aren’t quite as powerful as they could be, and while they don’t detract from the overall music, they don’t add all that much either. As for the production, it’s definitely not bad, but more reverb would be welcome going forward. In fact, the lack of it is the only thing I can think of that holds the band back just a tad. If they’d manage to add more of it the next time around, it would push the atmospheric side, that from a purely creative standpoint is solid already, onto a whole new level.

Winter is almost here for everyone who live in a region that has four (or at least two) distinct seasons, and for most metal lovers among us, it means it’s time to put on those atmospheric metal records again that go so well with the season. The folky melodies and melancholic (but not overbearingly so) atmosphere of From a Whisper fit like a fist in the eye when it comes to winter and music that should go hand in hand with it. It’s the perfect music to listen to while sitting by the fire and relaxing on a dark, cold winter night. What’s best about From a Whisper is that it’s Oak Pantheon’s debut album, yet it sounds like it was crafted by seasoned veterans ("We Will Tear Down The Gods" is a strong candidate for best folk metal song of the year). Taking this into account, I’m sure we can expect even greater things from this two-piece in the future as they mature and gain experience. These days, though, I feel perfectly content setting my foot out the door while listening to Oak Pantheon wail "here comes the snow" into my ear. Indeed, a blizzard hit me straight in the face yesterday, but having music that complements such weather in the nicest way possible definitely makes it more tolerable to wade through the snow, the wind, and the cold.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 30th 2012



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Highly recommended, this is really, really solid stuff.

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht

NightmareCinema16
November 30th 2012



2016 Comments


Nice review. Have a POS.

Evreaia
November 30th 2012



3743 Comments


album was good indeed, great review

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers

Acanthus
November 30th 2012



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This looks awesome, will check out after work.

Digging: Ayria - Hearts for Bullets

ikarus
November 30th 2012



559 Comments


nice review, i'm really digging the opening track, gonna keep listening

CaptainDooRight
November 30th 2012



26459 Comments


" If folky, atmospheric (black) metal is your thing"

sold

and bro i luv ur first name

rev owns pos, def will check

Digging: Deniro Farrar - The Patriarch II

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



6734 Comments


Sold Magnus has what I need.

BallsToTheWall
November 30th 2012



44164 Comments


Did you say Agalloch is from Canada?

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2012



6734 Comments


btw, pos'd

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 30th 2012



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you say Agalloch is from Canada?
Aha, yes I did, for some odd reason I remembered them to be from Canada. I feel really amateurish right now, my bad.

Thanks for the comments all and I hope you check the album out.

BallsToTheWall
November 30th 2012



44164 Comments


Nice review otherwise.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 30th 2012



16013 Comments


I guess I'll have to listen to this because the summary applies to me. Pos.

Digging: Katatonia - Kocytean

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2012



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, you'll enjoy it for sure Crysis, satisfaction guaranteed. And thanks Balls (for not ripping me a new one haha), and btw, I'm pretty sure you'd like this too.

sixdegrees
December 5th 2012



15777 Comments


I'm a fan of Agalloch, but this was just kinda boring.

Digging: Tam Tam - Polarize

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2012



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I disagree but to each his own. I do think that this takes some time to sink in, so maybe give it a few spins more before writing it off =)

Acanthus
December 6th 2012



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Finally got around to this, pretty good stuff.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2012



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad you like it Acanthus. This album is nothing revolutionary, but it's really well composed imo.

Acanthus
December 7th 2012



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed, and I really like listening to this genre when the weather gets colder.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2012



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same here, man, same here.

Ignimbrite
December 8th 2012



5228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

sweet, this got a review. cool album.



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