OAR
The Blood You Crave


3.7
great

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
January 11th, 2022 | 34 replies


Release Date: 01/07/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Veins of ice.

As we usher in a new year it’s hard to imagine just how anything will even hold a candle to the year that was 2021. Regardless of our pre…or misconceptions of what albums would hold sway on popular opinion there are always a few early releases that will make us question if, just if, the next will be better than the last. Notwithstanding where exactly that is, The Blood You Crave, from Australian black metal collective OAR is a morsel well worth the ordering.

Forgive me. I’m still shaking off the festive break.

But if you’ll let this terrible analogy continue, it’s hard not to break down The Blood You Crave’s track into bite sized courses; one to be consumed after the next until we’re all done. Once you’re through the entrees, this degustation tour de force is smooth sailing. Fairly, some new listeners may baulk at the introductory, eleven minute title track. Most entrees aren’t served at such a long withstanding scale and yet, “The Blood You Crave” is filled with nuance, subtle notes that dance in and out of the palette. As abrasive as the walls of screams that announce the track’s beginnings, there’s a range of sounds here that sit apart the caustic confines of black metal. Often, OAR’s broader sounds leave imprints on the core of black metal, not unlike the doomscapes a listener would find on an Ataraxie record. The title track flows through each of the album’s moods, setting an example for what is to come. The tendency to lean into post metal helps soften The Blood You Crave as a whole, but from here the set menu is more bite-sized, lighter amuse bouche set between a bold beginning and a memorable finish.

“Doomed and Damned” begins in sombre melancholy before a snarl steamrolls the mix and that’s just part of the crux of the album’s shortcomings. Most of the album has a focus on the screams and the melodies that sit in the higher range. Because of this, the instruments that live in the lower register simply fall out of contention until the music becomes minimalistic and doom-y. This caustic approach, the one that focuses on melody and baser black metal abrasion could be likened to a sword; all edge and no body. Putting aside this mild noise complaint, there’s a lot to take away from the track mentioned above and its counterpart, “Perfect Agony” whose uplifting melodies contrast well with the visceral track before it and the pointed snarls within at odds with the title of the track itself. While we’ve already established the more imperfect features found within, it’s the positives (both here and on the rest of the record) that are worth the deeper analysis. The latter of which breathes; slower tempos giving space for the less prominent bass work to shine before both the guitar and drum work rip in without restraint.

Still the set courses continue, and this forty-four minute table d'hôte has many meaty morsels and sweet treats to come, but this is where things start to get icy. “Souls Lost in the Frost” bleeds black metal motifs, post whatever-isms. The second of the album’s eleven minute tracks, “What Once Used to Bloom” takes the listener on a journey through a funeral dirge, a la the Ataraxie name-drop earlier. Slow melancholic melodies and crushing riffs circulate in a driving manner while the cleaner guitar tone provides further breathing space for the listener. While those adjectives lie rather opposite each other, OAR’s ability to meld gentle swells and ensnaring demonic visceral compositions together really bring out the best in the album’s icier atmospheres. Something that is summarized in this eleven minute landscape of post-black metal sounds.

Even as The Blood You Crave closes in gentler acoustic climes, a petit-four in comparison to the courses set before it; it’s clear that this Sydney-based collective is onto something. The music is majestic, beautiful in its harshness and compliant within its more gentle frames, but I can’t help but feel this would be magnificent if the production values were held to the same impressive standards. All in all it’s not a bad way to start the year—and there’s some invisible brownie points for sprooking up the local scene. Mostly OAR’s debut full-length is filled to the brim with promise. I’ll be back to try next season, ready to degust.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2022


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

released January 7, 2022



Recorded and mixed by Ben Worsey, Everland Studios, Sydney

Mastered by Collin Jordan, The Boiler Room, Chicago



https://oarmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-blood-you-crave

Ebola
January 11th 2022


4249 Comments


I always turn the car around

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2022


26776 Comments


Moar oar.

Will peruse.

Digging: Anna von Hausswolff - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2022


17329 Comments


That artwork is lush

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2022


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I agree. Quite somber, but I wouldn’t mind a canvas stretching across a wall.

Sowing
Moderator
January 11th 2022


40003 Comments


I'm one of those people that thought the pop act took a heavy turn. I'll second the merits of the artwork, and since post/black metal seems to be the metal subgenre that I'm leaning the most into lately, I might actually have to check this one out. Have a comment like "good review" or "mental pos", although what I'm too lazy to convey in more words is that I'm truly impressed by your writing over the last year-plus.

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2022


8778 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Gnocchi reviews slap agreed

Digging: Ferrara Ensemble and Crawford Young - Figures Of Harmony: Songs Of Codex Chantilly c1390

Demon of the Fall
January 11th 2022


22453 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

'Most of the album has a focus on the screams and the melodies that sit in the higher range. Because of this, the instruments that live in the lower register simply fall out of contention until the music becomes minimalistic and doom-y.'



Nice review indeed. I definitely agree with this excerpt thus far, certainly found it striking and rather irksome honestly. Hopefully it'll be less noticeably detrimental next time around.

Digging: Dark Millennium - Acid River

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2022


17329 Comments


“I wouldn’t mind a canvas stretching across a wall.”

Order me one while you’re at it

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2022


8778 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Immediate impression: the mix on this record makes it practically unlistenable. Not sure how I'm gonna actually sit through this whole thing. It's like taking a cheese grater to the eardrum. Why some bm bands insist on mixing the vocals twice as loud as everything else is beyond me.

Demon of the Fall
January 11th 2022


22453 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yep, the vocals are v loud as well. I kept pining for some long instrumental breaks (which are sometimes present). Nice to know I wasn't going crazy. Will try again regardless.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2022


15211 Comments


oh so this isn't that dad rock band?

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2022


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

works for this dock/rock pasta man

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2022


26776 Comments


Oh wow, Evok is right, they really shit the mix, can't almost hear the guitars and the vocals are so loud, very grating ;/

CaptainDooRight
January 12th 2022


5069 Comments


You aren’t kidding, wow surprised a professional recording would put the vox above everything else like that, the vox seem a tad lower in the mix in the latter tracks but still overall jarring, also too much treble on some of the leads, reference end of Doomed and Damned

Digging: Obsecration - Onwards the Mystic Paths of the Dead

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2022


26776 Comments


It doesn't help that the vocals are not great either, honestly i couldn't get past the second track.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2022


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

-It doesn't help that the vocals are not great either, honestly i couldn't get past the second track.-



The vocals aren't bad honestly - but I'd reiterate my comments on the mixing and focal on the high end. If they had just given some balanced attention here this could be a whole different record.



All well, I'll just wait for this power blackout to stop and to finish d/l-ing that Mizmor promo. Really hoping I don't come close to matching my review output from last year.

CaptainDooRight
January 12th 2022


5069 Comments


your review is excellent, I can fully agree with there being some promise in the future

Also the artwork for the new Mizmor looks pretty cool, looking forward to your rev for it

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2022


26776 Comments


new Mizmor hype / gnoch rev hype

These guys sure, if they fix those issues they'll probably have smth better in the future

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2022


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Lots of good albums in the 2022 pipeline already. Much excite.



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