Formed by former members of Wake Up On Fire and The Bodybag Romance, Baltimore's Oak has been kicking around the Bmore underground since 2005, and I've caught them several times in the past at shows at the Talking Head and other local DIY venues over the years. Actually, Oak's bass player Aaron is an old friend who used to play with me in a couple of bands years ago when he lived in the Hagerstown area, and the guy is a fucking doom metal fanatic who has turned me on to alot of cool uber-underground doom in the past, so I've been looking forward to hearing Oak on record for awhile. Everytime that I've seen the band play in the past, I thought they sounded like Baltimore's answer to Burning Witch, definitely taking a lot of cues from the ultra glacial, spacious extreme doom of that band with huge stretched out detuned chords, hysterical shrieks, grande-blast drum strikes that explode every few seconds, an undercurrent of nauseous dissonance and feedback oozing through the spaces between powerchords crashing in. Definitely slow as fuck and brutal, but not really exceeding their influences. Then I saw Oak play two weeks ago when they opened for Integrity in Baltimore for the A389 Recordings five year anniversary, the first time that I'd seen Oak in probably close to a year, and I was blown away - the band had definitely evolved since the last time I had seen them, had become way more death metal, singer Jo Gonzalez now belting out these impossibly deep deathgrunts and gurgling roars over sudden eruptions of furious double-bass drumming and blastbeats and chugging subsonic death metal that rise up out of filthy black oilslicks of manipulated feedback and trippy bass FX, the doom riffs still ridiculously slow and glacial with huge pregnant pauses between riffs, a single riff taking minutes to fully cycle through, but there's just as much dark rumbling ambience here too, with massive guitar drones stretched out for minutes on end, buzzing powerchords floating in clouds of crackling amplifier meltdown, and majestic guitar harmonies rising up out of the murk too, giving Oak's tectonic deathdoom this epic, triumphant aura. Man, that set was crushing, like hearing this fucked up mix of Disembowelment and Burning Witch and the blackened free-dronemetal of Sunn O))) offshoot Burial Chamber Trio wrapped up in a sprawling time-stretched blast of abstract death metal. The show also double as a record release show for the brand new Oak LP that A389 Recordings had just released, which I picked up a ton of for C-Blast on the spot. This record is equally devestating, with four songs of massive labyrinthine deathdoom and blackened drone mixed together across ten minute plus jams, filled with these insanely verbose lyrics that read like weird pagan/apocalyptic/eco-horror tracts, the lyrics spilling out over Oak's splattery doom in a torrent of gutteral black vomit. One rad fucking album, highly highly recommended to those into extreme death/doom and droning slow motion heaviness, packaged in a crazy looking gatefold jacket with Sumerian gods and weird naked elf-like people holding up a rams skull, pulled straight out of the sweaty Robotussin fueled daydreams of my youth. Awesome!