CD Reviews

Black Oak County - 'Black Oak County' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d4/76/c7/black-oak-county-black-old-county-76-1488399063.jpg

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 01, 2017    
 
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Full of energy from start to finish.

Black Oak County is a Danish quartet thumping their way into this issue with their self-titled debut. The band themselves describe "big catchy choruses" but I'd emphasise the "massive, heavy riffs" because that's really where these guys come into their own.

'Someone Else' is no introduction but a crash course in the blistering intensity this album delivers. The guitar work is chunky and Niels Beier's gruff vocals bring up the bass levels to balance out all that distortion. 'Enough On My Plate' got me thinking of a heavier JettBlack – it's that kind of Stadium Rock, only with the riffs amplified over melody and a bit more dirt chucked on it. Solos strip through the centre of 'The Bogeyman', remaining clean amidst the carnage. The song-writing is sharp and brutal. 'Mad Dog' is the point where it gets a little bit samey, as you start to recognise and anticipate BOC's sound. 'Save Me' is delivered with swagger and musical textures criss-cross each other, routinely crashing together in a barrel of noise.

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'If Only You Knew' was a pleasant surprise in the form of a remarkably powerful ballad-style track. Beier manages to grind out forceful but emotional vocals amidst a more restrained but still commanding sound. Like many of the tracks, it becomes a little wearisome towards the end, as the diversity thins and the lack of catchiness fails to sustain you through. The album closes out in solid style with the Funky, hard-hitting 'Never Cared' where cleaner guitar loops behind the heavy riff, it ties the album together in a succinct, punchy finish.

'Black Oak County' punches above its weight as a debut, especially for guitar fans and listeners who err on the side of harder Rock, but less so for those looking for melody or really memorable hooks. Nevertheless, plenty to get your teeth into musically and full of energy from start to finish.

Sophie Brownlee

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