Review by JD on April 8, 2011.
Folk Metal. That alone gets non-metalheads doing a double take. I have seen that, and soon, that person becomes interested in it, as well as metal in general. It is this odd paring that has most metal mad people buzzing lately - I am one of them. This is one of the more stranger offspring of the metal... but it is one that has more than what meets the eye.
England spawned Northern Oak is truly a ‘new renaissance’ for the developing Folk Metal sub-genre. With musicians that are some of the best right now, coupled with strong songs and a impeccable eye for detail this band shows that metal, can and is a true and vibrant art form. Combining the soaring and haunting strings and piano with brutal and devastatingly heavy guitar and insanely coarse and unyielding vocals - they come at you like a pack of wild jackals.
Songs like the 70's prog influenced groove of 'Sun God’s Wrath' to the metallic and dark pounding Doom Metal feel of 'Arbor Low' to the ethereal strains of 'Death In The Marshes' shows a band that is versatile, powerful and yet - are still metal.
Like this style or not, it is hard to ignore talent. Northern Oak seems to strike a chord and really brings artistic flair to every thing that is heavy and grinding. They may not be a commercial sort of thing but with their album aptly named "Monuments" - they just seem to be better than most
of the metal floating out there. They are a ‘monument’ to being both talented and wickedly heavy.
Grab a flagon of ale and listen to this album until the keg is done - it goes perfectly together.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 9.6 out of 10