Melodic death metal is a genre that comes with a lot of variation. Bands in this genre can pull influence from many different styles of music to create unique sound. Oracles is a band that pulls mostly from death metal, adds some melody to it, and throws in some thrash influence for good measure. Their new album “Into the Unknown” came out late last year, and is a very solid release that shows that the band should be making waves very soon. The album opens with the seven-minute-long “Caressed by the Hands of Fate”. The song begins with an acoustic intro before the main riff kicks in. This is a faster paced song that does a great job of being very heavy while retaining the melody that makes it melo-death to begin with.
This is the first glimpse of the guitar work that populates this album, and it is great throughout. “The Liquid Answer” is the follow up, and has a noticeably darker tone to begin with. This is a very fast paced song that is very tightly written, and is an easy early highlight on this album. Next is the title track, “Into the Unknown” and this one is the band’s anthem. This song has a bit of thrash influence, and some of the tightest songwriting on the album. This leads into “From Blue to Black” and this is an interesting song. It begins with an acoustic opening, and switches between this soft acoustic side and the band’s typical melodeath sound. It’s not a standout track, but its variation alone is worth pointing out. “1012” is the next song, and has a great melodic death metal opening. The lead guitar is great as usual, especially the solo towards the end of the song. Up next is “One by One”, a medium paced heavy track that features some really nice riffs. The melody isn’t sacrificed however, and the blend of heavy and melody is handled very well. “Drafted” is the next song, and begins with a spoken work soundbite, that has a soft instrumental over it. This song leans more to the melodic side, especially in the solo, which sounds like it was pulled out of the genre’s origins.
“Behind Closed Eyes” continues the band’s trend of great melodic death. This song doesn’t necessarily bring a whole lot new, but it does a good job continuing what the band has already done so far. Up next is “Why”, which has a nice heavy opening and once again has some thrash influence. The first half of this song is very heavy, and the riffs are more punishing. The second half changes a bit, and after the brief acoustic section, the band once again focuses on the melodic side of their sound. “A Breathless Opening” has an ambient opening, and is a well-executed instrumental interlude. The tone is somber, and this song is a nice break on this lengthy album. This leads into “Becoming Nemesis” which has a nice opening that combines acoustic guitar and piano. The main body of this song is very heavy, and the writing continues to be solid. The song ends on a piano outro that leads into the final song, “As the Worm Turns”. This song is shorter and is a well-written track to end the album. This is a very solid melodic death metal outing. By the end, it does feel like it outstays its welcome a little bit, but the material is overall very solid and definitely worth checking out.
Overall Score: 8.0/10
Review by Sam Hookom