Bands can be full of imbalances, especially when starting out.
Oracle’s is that their drummer far outshines the other players.
It’s not too much of a problem, because musically speaking, Oracle are impressive on this demo – from a proficiency standpoint anyway.
But it is something that the other lads are going to want to address by raising their own games a bit.
Chuggy groove metal has to be pretty amazing to pass muster, and it would be wrong to say Oracle distinguish themselves in any way stylistically: it’s absolutely textbook stuff, right down to the by now quaint ‘fuck you all’ bellows.
But Rhys Fraser on drums really does give the band something more.
It sounds as though he’s coming solidly from the Chris Kontos and Dave McClain school of heavy bottom-end solidity, while his absolute standout performance in ‘Burn The Nameless’ mixes Cavalera tom fills with skipping snare work thats leagues ahead of his immediate peers locally.
It’s creativity like that that raises these tracks above their otherwise conveyor belt groove metal origins.
The guitar solos enjoy a great smooth tone, and though they’re very much scale workouts rather than anything truly singing, they’re very well executed.
So it basically remains to say that it’s the vocals that are the only really trying aspect to the band: yes, the bellow is plentiful, but in a way, I’m not sure it even suits the music, which begs for more variation, and certainly some sung passages if only to relieve the genre-standard samey-ness.
A clean passage or two from the guitarists wouldn’t go a miss either, for the same reason.
Further, their image in no way matches their music: both the Ghost-esque font to the oracular, cultish artwork are absolutely at odds with the can crushing, camo-trousered bro’ metal on display here.
I’m being deliberately harsh. Oracle have set down a more than capable performance here, and one for which an emerging band can be pretty satisfied.
If they can think about what they’re doing instead of just cracking it out, we’ll be well rewarded next time.
But they have to raise their game now, and all elevate themselves to reach the standard of their superb sticksman. A dash more colour is needed through the songs, and they should stop just bellowing into the mic to fill space.
Otherwise, this groove metal is all a bit… predictable.
– Earl Grey ::: 24/02/18