The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise

Label: Karisma Records
Three similar bands: Poverty's No Crime/Leprous/Pink Floyd

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Highest Tower, Deepest Well
2. Quiet Rebellion
3. Dreamless Sleep
4. Sunday 8 AM
5. Demagogue Communion
6. Paperwings
7. Guest of Honour

Simen Valldal Johannessen - vocals, keys
Sigbjørn Reiakvam - drums
Øystein Sootholtet - bass
Stephan Hvinden - bass

False Memory Archive (2018)
Silent Night (2019)

Ole Michaek Bjørndal - guitar on Damagogue Communion
Steinar Refsdal - sax

Recorded in Ljugekroken and mixed at the Ghostward Studio by David Castillo
Mastered by Tony Lindgren at the Fascination Street Studio
Pictures by Anne-Marie Forker
Design by Remi Juliebø/Deformat

Released 2022-11-11
Reviewed 2022-11-27

karisma records

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The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise, it might sometimes be something that makes life less worth living, depending on how you compromise of course. Compromises can also make the world, and ourselves evolve, it is a clever title. It is the third album by Norwegian progressive rockers Oak, and it comes on the label Karisma Records that is known for releasing great albums in the progressive genre. The cover is a bit strange, perhaps it is related to the theme on mental health issues and suicide – not a particularly uncommon theme, but one that is important nonetheless.

It is progressive rock split on seven rather long tracks, fifty minutes of playing time gives an average track length of over seven minutes. It is quieter and dreamier rather than complex and dynamic, I think a bit of the German band Poverty’s No Crime when I listen, they have similar vocals and approach. But this album is not as dynamic as Poverty’s No Crime, it has a bit of depth though, but the slow tempo and small variation makes it an album that can seem a bit too much, or too long. The production is excellent though, the sound is great all the way through. The ideas are, however, less great and I find that I think of this album as rather static and unoriginal despite being in what is often called progressive rock.

On one hand I like this album, the atmosphere is interesting, the vocalist is great and the parts where the energy is raised shows traces of brilliance. Too bad there are too few parts like that, long parts of this albums are just slow and uneventful, and they make this album seem endless, and perhaps even a bit boring at times. It is better when I think of it, rather than listening to it. Perhaps brilliant in theory, but less so in reality. I would have liked some more fresh idea, some more novel approach towards the subject, just a better sense of novelty is missing for me.

You can certainly like this one, it has many things that can be seen as great and enjoyable. It is a fine album, no doubt about that. I just think that it is a tad on the long side, it is a bit stale, it happens a bit too little, and it has too few fresh ideas. But bear in mind that I get hundreds of albums and listen to many new ones every day, so if you are listening to less albums than I do and like the progressive genre you probably find this one more than agreeable. It is an excellent production, with good tracks, perhaps nothing really special but good enough to give a try.