Review: “Driftwood” by Olēka

Hailing from Abbotsford British Columbia, Olēka are a duo influenced by Southern Groove Metal and Melodic Death Metal in equal measure. The brain child of guitarist and vocalist Aaron Reurink, the project was conceived in early 2019 before he was joined by drummer Byron Shuflita and while there is no concept behind their debut offering “Driftwood“, there are intertwining over arching lyrical themes about the truth of loss, addiction and the realities one faces in such adversities…

Despite only being a duo, Olēka make more noise that a certain eighteen legged juggernaut with “Two Years“, a air tight cut of percussive battery and incendiary riffs which finds Reurink finding his voice in Death Metal with the kind of raspy dry throated style that have been a signature for Whipworm and Megadeth. The difference is a certain insanity level quality which rises to the fore in “The Manufactured Truth” in particular as part of the delivery rather than part of the lyrical narrative. Another pulverising cut it leaves no stone unturned in its pursuit of neck snapping oblivion, it’s also surprisingly socially and politically aware with lyrics like “I work a 9 to 5 just to scrape by and die” resonating. An ode to addiction, “Pulse” finds Reurink speaking of what it takes to feel alive when all around us the colours have been painted grey by the dull ache and nature of the modern world. The melodies in the rhythms however are the polar opposite of the pained lyrics with a warm, rich style that distantly echoes as it fades to black. Searing leads rear their ugly head in “Dead Echoes” which owes a debt to the Gothenburg Sound of Melodic Death Metal, the presence of an extended solo confirming Reurink’s talent in musicanship. The accomplished nature of the beast Olēka have created ensures that you will come back to “Driftwood” time and time again and there is no doubt that this feels like the start of an illustrious career in Metal [7.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Two Years
  2. The Manufactured Truth
  3. Pulse
  4. Dead Echoes

Driftwood” by Olēka is out 20th January 2023 via WormHoleDeath Records and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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