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Artist: Oil
Label: Kalubone Records
Time: 10 tracks/46:22

Waiting There

The impact of adult conversion experiences can be profound. Energy and zeal embody impassioned and immediate lifestyle changes. That kind of newfound glory--berthed from former Dark Angel frontman Ron Rinehart's recent salvation--is felt throughout Refine, the debut from southern California's Oil.

Power metal in the most classic of ways, Refine is fast and furious, ripping through ten tracks of unadulterated roar. While that gives the album a focus and vision to be commended, it makes for a stagnant musical climate, one seemingly stuck in a rut of metal cliche.

One may argue that power metal is what it is, and doesn't need to change with the times in order to have its place. While this may be true, it doesn't make the music itself feel any less dated. Over the course of the record, the tunes become almost indistinguishable amidst the verse and refrain cycles.

The album is not without merit. The craftsmanship is strong and the intentions good. These guys are professionals all the way, and their intensity and love for what they're doing never comes into question.

The lyrics are sound, if a little on the "fire and brimstone" side. Rooted in the gospel and full of conviction, Rinehart speaks truth, and speaks it loudly. From "Waiting There":

Still you walk away
Turning your back on God the Father
Still the Son remains
At the door to your heart
Will you answer?
Refine may miss the mark a bit but Oil is by no means out for the count. There's a wealth of talent here, just waiting for that "one thing". And let us not forget, it takes guts to be this kind of band in this day and age. That itself is worthy of praise.

Scotty Teems 9/30/2000


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