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The Oklahoma Kid – SOLARRAY

The Oklahoma Kid
SOLARRAY
by Jack Lynch at 06 August 2019, 10:28 PM

The OKLAHOMA KID may not be the strangest name for a Metal band, but it does insight some curiosity.  Whilst digging deeper into the group’s online presence, the number one question asked seemed to be “Are they from Oklahoma?” The answer is of course, “no, they are from Rostock, Germany”. Duh, right? In 2014 they grabbed some much-deserved attention with their debut EP, “Fortunteller” and soon followed up with the equally as good 3-track “Doppelganger” in 2015. Now, five years after their inception the band has signed with Arising Empire Records for the release of the long-awaited full-length album “Solarray.” For fans of the band this album is everything they’ve come to expect and will most likely not be disappointed.

From the start, “SOLARRAY” blows open the doors with "Oasis", a miss mash of sporadic Djent riffs, raspy Hardcore verses and clean Modern Metal choruses. By design, it’s the catchiest and most radio friendly of all the tracks on the album. The band’s balance of Djent, Post-Hardcore and Metalcore is hardly anything new, but it’s done with an overwhelming amount excitement and youthful energy that’s very contagious. Tomm Brümmer ‘s vocals take center stage on most tracks and give the band that edge over others in the genre. It’s a hoarse, Punk driven scream that echoes throughout each track and really does give the band their distinct sound.

"Feed the Fear" is perhaps the best example of this energy on full display. Fred Stölzel and Andreas Reinhard’s guitars rip with Tech Metal intricacy and blast at full speed during Brümmer’s infectious chorus. It’s by far the best song on the album. The band has large sound and other tracks such as "Doppelgaenger", "Balaclava", "Shaking Off the Disease", and "Solar Ray", hit similar heights though they never quite eclipse "Feed the Fear".

However, nearing around the mid-point of the album some blending between tracks begins to show its ugly head. The overall production is crisp and loaded with bass, though sometimes the guitars get lost in these giant walls of sound. Also, songs such as "Monster" and "Heartdown" do very little to reinvent the wheel and unfortunately these are moments when the band might begin to wear on you a bit.  Despite the energy, the Djent side of the music outstays it welcome and the writing tends to fall back on the status quo. Earlier songs in the album did a great job of breaking up the chug heavy breakdowns and screams with moments of vocal clarity and ambience. As with even best bands who tackle Djent, there is the unfortunate side-effect of over-use and if you start to question whether you’ve heard a particular song already or not, it might be a good time to give your ears a breather.

Still, despite any of this “Solarray” is a pretty solid production.  The OKLAHOMA KID has crafted a nice collection of songs that at the very least give us a glimpse into a future that looks very promising. It’s not groundbreaking by any means but for the most part does a great job of standing on its own thanks to the vocals of Brümmer. For fans that have already come to know the band, there is nothing I can say that you haven’t already heard. With razer cutting vocals, an energetic blend of Melodic Metalcore and Tech-Metal, that’s catchy and fun, THE OKLAHOMA KID will no doubt attract some new fans. For some that feel they’ve heard everything Djent infused Metalcore has to offer this may not be your cup of tea. But if any of the qualities I’ve mentioned connect with your styles of music, then you owe it to yourself to check out “Solarray”.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability:7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Oasis
2. High Stakes
3. Shaking off the Disease
4. Feed Me Fear
5. Doubles
6. Balaclava
7. Solar Ray
8. Heartdown
9. Monster
10. Dreambender II
11. Trailsign
Lineup:
Tomm Brümmer - Vocals
Fred Stölzel - Guitar
Andreas Reinhard - Guitar
Robert Elfenbein - Bass
David J. Burtscher – Drums
Record Label: Arising Empire Records
     


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