By Dale Platt
To the rest of the UK, Cornwall often serves as a holiday destination or simply that bit stuck on the far end of the country. As a result, there are often restrictions and limitations on the prospects of the music industry in the area. Despite all of these obstacles, For The Oracle is a band that has demonstrated a great deal of promise and ambition in the early days of its existence. Self released on April 30th, the band’s debut album ‘Kind Child’ is a progressive metal record with monstrous scope. Arranged as 5 chapters in its digital release, and 13 movements in all physical formats, For The Oracle seek to execute something innovative and original in the band’s very first outing.
Irrelevant of the fact that For The Oracle are a progressive metal band, the ambitious nature of such a project looks to be, on the surface, a huge risk. On that logic, it could be argued that some listeners of a more undiscerning nature may assume the album leans too far toward the avant-garde to be accessible. But it is clear from the off that the Cornish seven piece easily flex their creative muscles throughout ‘Kind Child’ to produce something both experimental yet wholly captivating that has echoes of The Mars Volta’s Frances The Mute.
Erupting into an anthemic eruption, ‘Bypass’ provides a truly bold and swift introduction to precisely what kind of record ‘Kind Child’ is. Drawing the listener in almost immediately, the track delivers precisely what is needed at very beginning of such a grand outing. The direction taken by For The Oracle is impeccable, and the only flaw is present at times throughout the duration of ‘Princess’ – guilty of feeling repetitive on occasion – the track still does enough to propel the album forward into its latter half.
By this point, the vocals of Sam Lawson have indicated the wide array of talent that is present amongst the band members. Ranging from melodies to brash shouts and screams, the passion that drives his vocal delivery is ultimately both endearing and lasting. By the midpoint of the five chapter long ‘Kind Child’, For The Oracle maintain momentum with guitar work which adds the honed edge to what is already a expertly engineered machine – something which is ever present in ‘Below Sex’.
Much of what works on this record is the seamless movement between chapters or movements, whichever way is chosen to view the album. That, in part, is down to the tireless drumming from Karum Cooper. It is this excellent work from Cooper which brings about a level of cohesion that allows so many ideas to gel together. The only major drawback on this release is a few momentary problems with the production and mixing of the release. It only really amounts to the occasional instrument being drowned out amongst the rest, and on a debut album that has been self released, it is something that hardly worth dwelling upon.
Given that Deftones‘ eighth album, ‘Gore’, has just been released to critical acclaim (the latest milestone in the band’s 20 year plus history) it becomes apparent that sustained longevity and originality in the progressive movement is possible. On reflection, ‘Kind Child’ is an album, despite its teething problems, could well be the first stepping stone for the quickly emerging For The Oracle. With the band only forming in early 2015, the speed at which the group have produced such an ambitious debut suggests that this could be the start of something magnificent.