Picking through Oaks’ photos on the Web, I don’t see any molester mustaches, long hair, or dirty denim vests over leather jackets. But those things wouldn’t be out of place. Despite their earthy name and cover art, Oaks plays hesher butt rock of the 1982 Iron Maiden “Run to the Hills” class.

Somehow (I’m guessing there was a bet that was lost) Oaks infiltrated San Diego’s authentic dive-bar metal elite: bands such as the Long and the Short of It, Archons, and Hostile Combover. While those bands offer traditional metal with ample elements of innovation, Oaks seems content with the standard rhythm and melodies that have been around since pimple-faced dorks played their albums backwards, searching for hidden satanic messages and excuses for suicide. Oaks also revel in the pretentious affectation of the high-pitched wailing lead singer, which had been rightfully abandoned for the past two decades.

If this were a parody album, I’d call it genius. As I don’t own a Firebird or a chrome skull ring, I can’t listen to it.

Artist: Oaks
Label: self-released
Where available/price: Online at myspace.com/oaksmusic for $5.99.
Songs: 1) Big Sta 2) Reeling 3) Spine 4) River 5) Kix 4 Free 6) Deerhead
Band: Marc (bass, vocals), Gerard (guitar), Justin (drums)

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