The origin to the name Oakeater is instructive to the underlying framework for this Chicago outfit. “Loosely influenced by Norse Mythology and an industrial shredder” cites Oakeater’s Alex Barnett, locating the band as a chimera of loaded allegorical components. Barnett, alongside Seth Sher and Jeremiah Fisher, formed Oakeater in the mid-aughts, recording and performing in fits and starts. The division of labor is rather fluid in the use of re-purposed electronics bolstered by guitars, synths, drum machine, and voice. The compositions evolve out of their greater collectivity and an atmospheric tension made manifest through Oakeater’s channelling of dark energy. That metaphysical, nihilistic energy is cathartic in nature, as Fisher explains “I induce an anxiety attack within myself and then navigate through it. The lyrics serve as a mantra for that ritual. Stories about dead deer. False recollections of imprisonment under Pol Pot.” It is a gloomy, mechanical menace that Oakeater actualize in their blackened rituals for electrical murk, noise, and plod, with Aquarius being their first release in nearly four years, after a protracted hiatus with the various members involved in other projects. The arc of this album is cinematic in scope, building slowly through the bone-chilling, apocalyptic dirges of “Wishful Beginnings” and “All That Is Sacred”. Oakeater’s psychic pressure cracks at the onset of the title track which surges in the repetitive chords of synth-noise and guitars constricting around the throttled vocalizations. Brooding cybernetic rhythms match the timbre of an urgent, ominous drone that draw the album to a close in “Respite”, whose steady velocity terminates abruptly with a car crash of a conclusion to this smoldering album of raw expressionism.
Wishful Beginnings Oakeater
All That is Sacred Oakeater