Oakenshield - Gylfaginning review
|Release date:||June 2008|
02. The Sons Of Bor
05. The Aesir
10. The Death Of Baldr
If you can't stand Falkenbach, don't bother to read any further. There won't be nothing of interest for you in this review.
Oakenshield is a British one man band which indulges in Viking Metal, just like a nearly ridiculous amount of bands does nowadays. Ben Corkhill is the man behind Oakenshield who attempts to compress the Gylfaginning - the creation and destruction of the world in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda - into 60 minutes. So far, so generic. So what sets Oakenshield apart from the rest of the Viking Metal flock?
To be honest: nothing at all. Oakenshield offers nothing that one hasn't heard before. The most obvious influence is the music of our pseudo-Icelandic friend Vratyas Vakyas of Falkenbach. Long-drawn arching melodies, rasping black metal vocals, multi-layered baritone choirs, a thick layer of guitars and bass, the subtle usage of synths, a flute here, a fiddle there, overall an insanely epic atmosphere, there's nothing in Oakenshield's music what Falkenbach hasn't done before. All lack of originality aside though: Mr Corkhill does know his thing! The songwriting is excellent, every melody, every phrase couldn't have been done any better by master Vakyas himself. The album as a whole is of high and constant quality with no downers at all. Unfortunately the pace of the album is very constant as well, sticking to the usual mid-tempo most of the time, so that the music might drift into the background of one's mind during its 60 minutes. Only the end of "The Aesir" and the following track "Fenris" pick up speed a bit and get some double-bass drumming into the mix which also makes "Fenris" the most outstanding song of the album. The drum programming as a whole is rather unimaginative and predictable, but doesn't affect the enjoyment of this album too much.
Quite an impressive feat is the fact that Ben Corkhill did everything on his own. Not only has he written all the songs, played all the instruments, programmed the drums and recorded all the vocals on his own, he has also produced and mixed the whole album, and all this at an age of merely 19 years. Respect for that!
So even though this album suffers from severe lack of originality, it is very well composed and written (well, the lyrics only make sense if you are familiar with the Edda and are able to connect the dots), and so well performed that Oakenshield can probably be regarded as the best Falkenbach clone out there. If you absolutely love Falkenbach and cannot wait for a new release of theirs, don't hesitate to give this album a try, you won't regret it! Now if only Mr Corkhill learns how to honour his musical role-models and to go his own way at the same time, I see a bright and shiny future for this young man.
||Written on 07.07.2008 by Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.|
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