posted on 7/2010 By:
Mellow. Melancholy. Metal. Which of these doesn’t belong? If you said “metal,” you’d be correct. I know there’s a sect out there that would say “none” and love nothing more than when a band can be all three at once. For me, it’s a hard sell. Let me be clear that I’m not talking about progressive-type bands who alternate between one or more of the above, just those that do combine them. That’s the reason why I just can’t get excited over Portugal’s Oblique Rain. Taking a few pages out of Katatonia’s playbook, they combine heavy, often somber riffs and melancholy vocals delivered with a laid-back/shoegaze vibe. I’m not the biggest Katatonia fan, but they are a band I enjoy and they have found a way to make it work, and quite well. On October Dawn, Oblique Rain have their moments, but aren’t quite there yet.
When they stick to the heavy, they’re pretty damn good, shown best on “Soul Circles,” driven by moments of double-bass and riffing that you can easily envision a lot of headbanging on stage to. The verses are lighter, but it works as a contrast. Equally impressive is “Reminiscence,” where things are slowed down just a bit, but the choruses hit equally as heavy. After that, everything else is hit-and-miss, with heavier moments littered in. The guitarists lay down a heavy drone with their crunchy, mildly abrasive (in a good way) tone for the rest of the band to play over, but there’s a disconnect between that and the croon of vocalist Flavio Silva during these mellower moments. The guy has some range though, even throwing in some low growls during “Spiral Dreams,” the second half of which is as good as the previously mentioned tracks.
I’ve read that there has been little progression for Oblique Rain from their debut album to this sophomore effort, so it’s possible that this is as good as their going to get. Hopefully not, though. They have a lot of potential and can obviously write some catchy, memorable tunes that take advantage of all facets of their repertoire, they just need to write and record more of them.
Register to post comments.