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Black Oak – Egolution

Black Oak
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 01 March 2023, 6:46 AM

From Metal Temple’s press release, “A skillful blend of darkness and light into a soulful unity, BLACK OAK merge together both ethereal dreamy atmospheres and shimmering melodies with crushing riffs and pummeling rhythms throughout the 11 tracks that comprise "Egolution.” Each song on the record is meticulously measured and well-balanced in terms of its blend of genres, but where the five-piece really excel are during its more delicate moments, such as the use of frontwoman Samuéla Burenstrand's vocals that really shine forth with a gentle, emotional, and enchanting style of singing. Few can combine angry growls with soft, beautiful melodies, yet Burenstrand accomplishes it with great aplomb.”

“Epilog” is one of three intro/shorter songs to the album’s main message. The tones are electronic, clean, and melodic. “Trauma” is hard and heavy, almost Core related in its delivery. The guitars chug like a chainsaw idles, with horrid harsh vocals. The transition to female cleans is very abrupt. “Shadows” features another raging and partly desperate sound. The harsh vocals are very intense, and the transition to cleans is a little smoother. So far, the two songs have competing elements that don’t always mesh, but we will need to keep listening. “Equilibrium Pt. 1” is a two-minute song with noisy elements, sounding like the preparations of a torture session.

“Conflict” begins with clean, delicate tones. Tension hangs in the air before the brutal assault that follows. Barbarous accents mark the subject matter aptly. “Collapse” has a strong groove amidst the rage. Lead guitars play overtop of the weighted bottom end. Again, the transitions to cleans is smoother, and the song sound more cohesive. They remind me of someone that I can’t quite place. JINJER maybe? “Doubt” is the third of these pejorative songs, if you will. Clean tones lead the song, with the development of Djent elements in hand. The nature of the sound is somewhat sad, almost as if you were trying hard to overcome the subject but it lingers always. “Equilibrium Pt. 2” is another short transition piece where beauty wins out over aggression. The strings cry out with sorrow. “Death” is as it sounds…a substantial song with contentious tones, but not without melodic moments. The guitar work is very well done in this song. The delicate moments are quite charming.

“Transition” is the longest on the album, and you can feel the tide turning. Graceful and pretty tones open the song, but hanging in the back are some black clouds. They finally come through near the end, but the strong melody persists. “Prolog” closes the album. Delightful opening tones are replaced by threating ones, and the two conflicting style are locked in battle throughout the song. Gather all the rage and beauty out there and its injected firmly into this closing piece. Overall, as described, this album does indeed have a nice balance between rage, anger, and compliance. Although some of the transitions are abrupt, I now believe that this was intended by the band, to highlight the two clashing sides of the album, and to make them stand out all the more.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Epilog
2. Trauma
3. Shadows
4. Equilibrium Pt. 1
5. Conflict
6. Collapse
7. Doubt
8. Equilibrium Pt. 2
9. Death
10. Transaction
11. Prolog
Samuéla Burenstrand – Vocals
Robin Olsson – Drums
Niklas Olsson – Guitar
Magnus Hedblom – Bass
Emil Fredenmark – Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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