Oak Pantheon / Amiensus Gathering

Oak Pantheon / Amiensus Gathering

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Oak Pantheon and Amiensus, both of whom hail from Minnesota, each put out exquisite releases in 2012: from the former, there was From a Whisper, a shimmering and plaintive piece of blackened folk metal full of unexpected sharpness; and from the latter, the lovely and bleak piece of progressive black metal, Restoration. Frequently compared to one another, as both have a penchant for combining the wistful and the wretched, the harsh and the lovely, the pair of bands have collaborated on a split release. Gathering is a chilly record, bleak and brief and perfectly suited for the razor-like icy rains that divide the end of fall from the beginning of winter. "A Gathering," by Oak Pantheon, has a defiant quality to it, burrowing into itself for warmth and light even as it projects a hostile atmosphere. Amiensus' contribution, "Arise," is a slower and more introspective piece, building gradually from tentative melt water to ice storm. Gathering is the perfect record for that liminal time in late November when everything is in a perpetual state of melting or freezing and everyone's heart seems rimmed with hoarfrost. (Tridroid Records)