Oaksenham: progressive rock is not dead

Written on the 10th of January, 2015

It often happens that, when I’m listening to music from the seventies or eighties, I go full cliché and think “man, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore”. Sometimes, fortunately, I’m proven wrong.

A while ago, I was downloading music randomly from Brain Damage (check that blog, by the way, there’s lots of great prog rock to discover) and stumbled upon this Armenian band… Oaksenham, they’re called. Weird name. Whatever, let’s see, or rather listen. Apparently they’re all professionally trained musicians, it shouldn’t be bad.

Mindblowing. Conquest of the Pacific, Oaksenham’s studio debut, is probably the most surprising album I listened in 2014 (the album is from 2007). I certainly wasn’t expecting such a quality effort from a virtually unknown band that had no previous studio albums. Yes, half of the material is “borrowed” from other artists, but the adaptations are superb. First, they did their own versions of Gentle Giant’s Talybont and On Reflection. Then, they made a song (Jester’s Pipe) that is not exactly a cover of Jethro Tull’s Velvet Green, although it’s very similar (Jethro Tull is actually credited on the album, I think). Finally, in Golden Hind, the song that closes the album, they start with Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and finish with Pomp and Circumstance, which doesn’t really fit that much here, I guess, but I still love it.

The whole album combines mainly progressive rock and folk, but there are also hard rock and classical music elements here and there. That, and the flute playing (for example, there are some really cool bits in Water Spark and, especially, Merlin’s Jig, a lovely song that could be in the soundtrack for some Middle Ages based adventure movie) remind me of Jethro Tull so much, which obviously means I’m in love with this shit.

Progressive rock is not dead. Ok, the band doesn’t even have a hundred likes on facebook, which shows how well known they are, but I’m really happy to see that some people still do this kind of stuff. I seriously encourage whoever reads this to give the album a try, it can be found on youtube.

That’s it for this time; I should be able to write another post this month, although I don’t know what I will write about. It’s been a long time without writing (family time in holidays, exams, etc) and I miss it.


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