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Quercus : Quercus/The River/Oktor (Split)

This split is actually a collective re-release of three separate 3" CDr, one by each band. Originally each of them were made in the very limited edition of 100 copies each. I'm not sure how many copies were made of this DVD-case re-release - I believe it was more than 100 copies, but according to the labels homepage, they're all gone now. However, I know that, when I'm writing this in late summer 2007, there are still places to get hold of it.

Quercus present their EP first. The release title, 'Nenia', means elegy. That probably means that 'Awaken to Peace' is a song about death and perhaps even the afterlife. With slow dirges, epically depressing and emotions of sorrow that borders on nihilism, this is without doubt a song worthy a funeral. Quercus often seems to be just another funeral doom band that sounds like all other bands in the genre, but that's an illusion created by the musics aura. On the surface it contains the same utter depression that one has heard so many times before, but listening a bit more carefully reveals a heap of quirks and peculiarities. Where most bands follow the linear depression, Quercus is full of edges and strange shapes. Even so they never really sound weird, they just bring a new, more complicated feeling to the idea of an afterlife void.

The River differs from the other two bands in that they use clean, but low, female vocals while Quercus and Oktor use male growls (Oktor also uses clean male vocals). This gives their funeral doom a sleepier feeling. The guitar lines are quite raspy, but at the same time they're not that harsh. The meaning of the EP title, 'Oneiric Dirges in Mono', can be quite hard to grasp for someone who's not familiar with rarely used English words. When 'oneiric' means "of or pertaining to dreams" and a dirge refers to a funeral tune, then the meaning can be translated to "dreaming and lifeless funeral tunes". Quite a fitting description, I would say.

The music by is quirky, like that of Quercus, but in a very different way. They are more occult and the quirks often come in new elements or having one element break with the others, whereas Quercus spends more time with overall shifts in the music. Oktor is perhaps the most death influenced of the three bands, but they still remain in the funeral doom genre. The emotions of the music contain some insecurity, which is quite uncommon for the genre, but the lyrics are clearly about dying. As an example, 'To witness the fall of Values' ends with a minute long section, with whispers saying "let me go" that fade away into the nothingness.

On overall I would claim that this is perhaps one of the best funeral doom splits there are. I believe the bands really put out their best here and I'm sure most funeral doom fans would find at least something of interest. Also, I bought it for around €5, thus making it one of the cheapest offers around.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Awaken to Peace
2. Nameless

The River:
'Oneiric Dirges in Mono':
3. Opaque
4. Amber

5. To Witness the Fall of Values
6. Whisper Winter into Me

Duration : Approx. 62 minutes.

Visit the Quercus bandpage.

Reviewed on 26-04-2010 by Arnstein Petersen
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