Monday, November 30, 2015

New Band Spotlight: Oaf

Oaf was brought to Justified Arrogance's attention after we grossly overlooked them on our Best of 2015 list. From the minute we heard "Cheat II", we knew we messed up.

The Pacific Northwest might be the most underrated mean scene in the country. While it is true that the area did briefly produce a number of melodic hardcore bands in the 2000s like Champion and Go It Alone as well as being home to the thinking man's hardcore band Trial, the Pacific Northwest has otherwise had a pretty proud history of spawning some of the meanest and most aggressive bands in hardcore punk. Bands like Brotherhood (who wrote one of the hardest straight edge songs ever) laid down a foundation for what PNW hardcore should be: a punch to the mouth, no bullshit, and to the point. Since then bands like Iron Lung, Cold Sweat, Walls, and countless others have followed this template, helping to fortify the region into a subculture stronghold.

Oaf is the newest product of the PNW. Hailing from Vancouver, BC and beginning in 2014, the band has grown exponentially from an idea to a sound in the last year. On their 2014 demo, the band played to what they wanted to sound like. They tried to capture all of the elements that their PNW predecessors had perfected before them. The demo itself is good and, by itself, is quite good. In September 2015, the band released their debut EP Consume. The time between releases gave the band time to put it all together. The production, the vocals, and most importantly, the control on the record shows the band finally understood where they came from. The vocals are dripping with vitriol, there is a ton of feedback promoting discomfort, the bass is overpowering at times, the guitar is piercing, and even the drums sound abrasive. Oaf plays a sound that makes it seem like they want you to hate them.

The PNW still hates the world. Check them out.

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