Oxbow
An Evil Heat


4.5
superb

Review

by BMDrummer USER (51 Reviews)
May 22nd, 2014 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An Evil Heat is a culmination of everything that makes Oxbow the most interesting band you haven’t heard.

Oxbow is easily one of the most underrated bands on all of sputnikmusic. It’s not quite that they have low ratings, because the few that know about them seem to like them, but none of their albums have more than 50 ratings. Enough of the talk with this site though, Oxbow needs a bit of an introduction. Bands like Oxbow come around every once in a while, but this quartet really is one of the most unique bands to come out over the past two decades. Starting out with the provocative ***fest, Oxbow have been releasing experimental records for quite some time and have certainly earned their chops. With support from Neurot recordings and Hydra Head, they have managed to piece together some sort of minor success though. To actually describe their sound though, there will be quite some explaining to do.

Taking in influences from noise rock such as the Jesus Lizard, to classical, prog rock, drone music, blues, free jazz, and some psychedelic music, Oxbow’s sound is impossible to properly categorize beyond “experimental rock”. Vocalist Eugene Robinson employs shouted vocals which evoke images of a sorrowful, broken victim in pain. The guitar playing from Niko Wenner is very menacing and dissonant, full of feedback, distortion, sudden shifts, and slide playing. The rhythm section, comprised of Dan Adams on bass guitar and Greg Davis on drums, play very loosely similar to the Jesus Lizard once again, but with influences that go all over the place. After trying different sounds though, with their previous material, Oxbow have crafted what they always hinted towards with An Evil Heat.

An Evil Heat could best be described as the most frightening thing Oxbow have created so far. It seems to hold a concept of sorrow and desolation throughout, with Eugene’s wails being more frightening than ever. The way he shouts on songs such as “The Snake & the…” or “S Bar X” are so frightening, they make black metal bands seem childish. Most of the album will creepily plod along on one sort progression, but when they explode, instead of sounding big and triumphant, they just sound really horrifying in a way similar to Swans. Every song does its job perfectly by basically being a completely schizophrenic, frightening, and intense emotional experience. As a whole the album flows quite nicely, with highlights such as the opener “The Snake & the…” which allows you to see into the dark images Oxbow is painting. Other highlights include the crawling “Stallkicker”, the jazzy “Sawmill”, and the schizophrenic “Sorry”. As a whole though, all the songs form together to create something a bit different, like pieces to a complex puzzle.

An Evil Heat is easily Oxbow’s masterpiece, culminating everything they did in the past in the best way possible. This album is undeniably inaccessible to most listeners, due to its immense power and experimental approach to nearly every musical convention. Experimental rock would be the only way to correctly describe this release due to its dissatisfaction with staying under one umbrella of musical styles. If you’re looking for one of the most bizarrely emotional experiences of the past few years, check this out, if you can take it.



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user ratings (78)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BMDrummer
May 22nd 2014


14211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

More reviewing. Might review more of this band since no one seems to know about them here.

PappyMason
May 22nd 2014


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice man, an Oxbow review!



This album is something else. Nice job touching upon the various sounds and emotions exhibited here. Eugene Robinson is certainly a madman.

PappyMason
May 22nd 2014


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm teetering between a 4 and 4.5 for this one. Can't decide.

BMDrummer
May 22nd 2014


14211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Higher rating for an amazing album. Eugene is quite horrifying here

North0House2
May 22nd 2014


6017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love these guys. Narcotic Story is phenomenal. Their vocalist is frightening indeed, though.

BMDrummer
May 22nd 2014


14211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Need to hear Narcotic Story, sounds creepy. After that, I'll probably review Let Me Be a Woman.

ibringyoufire
May 22nd 2014


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, this band owns

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icatchthirtythree
May 22nd 2014


865 Comments


yeah this band rocks my socks. nice review

Wizard
May 23rd 2014


20186 Comments


You've definitely stepped up your game dude, nice review. I've only heard The Narcotic Story and I liked it. They were on Hydra Head records before the label crashed and burned, right?

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
May 23rd 2014


11493 Comments


Sweet review BM, need to check this out after reading this.

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PappyMason
May 23rd 2014


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Wizard Yeh, they were on Hydra Head.

BMDrummer
May 23rd 2014


14211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There's this great documentary about Hydra Head, Constellation, and Neurot recordings. It's called Blood, Sweat, Vinyl: DIY in the 21st Century, which is where I found Oxbow and Cave In.

PappyMason
May 23rd 2014


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sounds good. I'll check it out at some point.

BMDrummer
August 1st 2014


14211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

more people need to check this band out

NeroCorleone80
November 4th 2015


34363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oxbow rule

NeroCorleone80
November 25th 2015


34363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is so overlooked

PappyMason
November 25th 2015


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Most definitely.



I would have loved to have seem them live. From the footage I've seen, looks like quite the experience.

NeroCorleone80
November 25th 2015


34363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Same. Eugene goes fucking crazy on stage

NeroCorleone80
February 18th 2016


34363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Stallkicker is so fucking good. The middle part always gives me chills.

PappyMason
February 18th 2016


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish I could listen to this for the first time again, it's some experience.



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