Sunday 10 April 2016

You Big Ox - The Oxwhal (Album Review)

Release date: March 10th 2016. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

The Oxwhal – Tracklisting

1.The Pachyderm 07:16
2.Luminous Vessel 08:30
3.Meat Sleeper 12:05
4.I'm not meant to be here 07:54
5.Where the river used to flow 04:52
6.Natural Forms 04:43
7.Artificial Ruins 11:08


You Big Ox is the work of one person. Derek Donley. Derek is also part of Bereft, The Cruellest Animal, National Sunday Law and Graviton. I'm a huge fan of National Sunday Law and Graviton. Derek has another great project to his name, mainly – You Big Ox. You Big Ox have just released their debut album – The Oxwhal.

The album is a complex and progressive listen where Derek doesn’t offer an easy ride through the albums fifty seven minute run time. You are treated to different style of rock/metal such as Prog, Psych, Sludge, Doom, Stoner all held together by an intriguing almost labyrinth style of Post-Metal. The vocals change from harsh growls to a more dream based vibe which I kind of expected from the music that Derek has created in the past. If you’re a fan of NSL and Graviton then this album is the natural evolution for Derek to progress with.

My only complaint is that the songs have a similar vibe running through out. I would have liked to see Derek try more variety with the structure of the songs. Other than that minor complaint, Derek has created a daring and bold album especially when he tries his hand at Torche style melodies against the harsher post-metal tones. The album can be unforgiving at times as it contains a few dark lyrical themes. The production is first rate through out. The Oxwhal could have easily been released by well known indie label as it sounds that good.

Standout tracks are: The Pachyderm, Meat Sleeper and Artificial Ruins.

The Oxwhal is an album you need to listen to a few times to fully understand all of its themes and complex riffs. It took me a few listens to fully understand the whole album and to truly appreciate it. There’s enough going on for Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal fans to invest their time and money into this album as it’s jam-packed with some truly exciting ideas.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


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