By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks
Norwegian thrash metal with doom and NWOBHM twists.
OK, I admit it. This album by Norway’s Under The Oak was released some time ago and I didn’t pay any attention. But right now, I am paying attention because this is good stuff that somehow only got to my ears recently. The album contains ten original songs plus two well-chosen covers, “Solitude” (Candlemass) and “Pounding Metal” (Exciter). Obviously, a Norwegian thrash metal band playing a doom metal cover by the mighty Candlemass must be worth a listen. Presumably the band name is also a nod to the Swedish doom masters (“Under the Oak” is a song from Candlemass’ 1986 debut album “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” which was also featured in a new version on 1989’s “Tales of Creation”). Doom metal aside, this is essentially a thrash metal band built on true love for 1980s Bay Area thrash. Under The Oak plays thrash metal with some obvious NWOBHM vibes, not least on the track “The Fountain”. The album kicks off with a Slayer-sounding intro on the track “Tribulation”. It then continues from there with terrific rough and dirty thrash metal on songs such as “Chaos in the Pit”, “Hymn for the Fallen”, “Total Human Destruction” and “Wrath of Nature”. If you, like me, have missed out on this band until now, buy this album and start a mosh pit in your living room. Norway is not all black metal and AOR.
Under The Oak’s album “Ripped Up by the Roots” is out via Wormholedeath Records.