Oil 1998

Oil was formed in Long Beach, Calfornia in 1997 by guitarist Blake Nelson and ex-Dark Angel vocalist Ron Rinehart.

Oil (independent) 1997

1. "When No One Cares" (3:29)
2. "Last Breathe" (6:31)
3. "Searching For Heaven" (4:11)
4. "Numbers" (5:34)
5. "Day or Night" (5:54)

Oil are a heavy metal band formed by Blake Nelson and ex-Dark Angel vocalist Ron Rinehart. I admit right up front that my initial interest in this band was Ron's involvement with Dark Angel. I ordered this EP without hearing a note, hoping to hear Dark Angel II. However, DA2 was not what I got, but instead a mix of heavy metal, mostly mid-paced grooves and only the slightest thrash influences. Oil slow things down quite a bit from the manic thrash of Dark Angel . This being the case, Ron is given more room to breathe and sing and isn't spitting out the lyrics in rapid fire succession. Album opener "When No One Cares" is a heavy mid-paced song with a stop/start groove and was always a fan favorite. "Searching for Heaven" is probably the fastest number on the disc, and has some thrash influences, especially in the main guitar riff. However the straight forward drum beat that never really breaks into full throttle double bass holds the song back from really being a thrash number. "Day or Night" closes the EP out and is a somber number that builds from a melancholy ballad to another heavy, mid-paced romp. The production on self produced EP is excellent, with every instrument clearly heard.

My copy is autographed in ballpoint pen by the entire band, including Blake Nelson, Ron Rinehart, Matt Joy and Jason Vander Pal. The Oil EP quickly went out of print and as of 2011 has not been repressed. In the rare case that a copy shows up on Ebay, it usually sells for ridiculous amounts of cash.

Oil 1999
Oil promo photo 1998

Refine Oil - Refine (Kalubone) 2000

1. "Divided" (3:50)
2. "Waiting There" (4:30)
3. "Scream" (5:20)
4. "Life Addiction" (4:00)
5. "Lost" (4:06)
6. "Open Wound" (4:48)
7. "Struggle" (4:33)
8. "S.I.N." (6:48)
9. "I Won't Give Up" (4:25)
10. "Chopping Block" (4:09)

Ron 2001
Ron Rinehart in Anaheim, CA 2001

It is inevitable that this band will be compared to Dark Angel, especially with stickers all over the front stating that Oil features former Dark Angel vocalist Ron Rinehart. There is no way of comparing, however, as Dark Angel's forte' was speed and aggression. Oil, while just as heavy as DA, feature more groove and crunch. Ron isn't forced to rap out his lyrics in a rapid fire manner, but rather, is able to do a bit more singing. Don't misunderstand me, this band is heavy. If DA had stayed together this is the direction they may have gone. Songs like "Chopping Block" could very well have been on Dark Angel's "Time Does Not Heal." Other songs like "Waiting There" allow Ron to scream like he did in the "Leave Scars" days. Another striking difference is in the lyrics. Seems that Ron has decided to allow his Christian beliefs to shine forth. This being true, Oil's lyrics can still be as disturbing as DA's was as they still deal with personal topics, however from a new perspective. Also, don't be fooled into thinking this is a Ron Rinhart solo project. Guitarist Blake Nelson, who started the band with Ron, writes most of the band's music and is a great guitarist and songwriter.

Choice Cuts Oil - Choice Cuts Off The Chopping Block (Roxx Prod.) 2003

1. "Intro" (2:39)
2. "Drown" (3:30)
3. "Life Addiction" (3:50)
4. "Struggle" (4:45)
5. "S.I.N.+" (7:24)
6. "Waiting There" (4:20)
7. "Walls" (3:56)
8. "After" (6:33)
9. "Picture This" (4:15)
10. "Divided" (3:54)
11. "When No One Cares" (3:51)
12. "Chopping Block" (4:08)
13. "This Is My Prayer" [Acoustic Studio Track] (2:06)
14. "Medicine Man" [Acoustic Studio Track] (7:56)

I have seen Oil live several times over the years and they always put on an outstanding performance. Ron Rinehart and Blake Nelson are quite the showmen and always tear it up on stage, as do the rest of the band. Fortunately they captured that raw, live energy on this limited edition CD. Included here are several new songs, which show off Oil's new direction. While there is some old school heavy metal attitude, it is clear that Oil are going for a more modern sound. The three new tracks, "Drown", "Walls" and "After" are all similar in style to what bands like Static-X and Disturbed are doing. Fortunately, unlike most modern bands Oil are not afraid to play a guitar solo, and Blake plays plenty of them. Most of the rest of the material included here is from "Refine". I was hoping that Oil would have included a couple more songs from their first EP. Unfortunately only one song ("When No One Cares") was included. This is actually one of my favorite songs on this disc. One negative about this live recording is hearing the rhythm guitar dropping out under the guitar solos. That is one nice thing about having two guitar players in a band. However, bassist Matt Joy is a strong bassist and fills in the gaps nicely. This will be Matt's last Oil album as he was replaced not long after this disc was recorded. (Oil actually disbanded not long after this album was released.)

"Choice Cuts" also features two bonus acoustic songs ("This Is My Prayer" & "Medicine Man"). These two tracks are outstanding. While they are not  heavy in the slightest, I wouldn't mind hearing an entire album of this type of stuff. Even better, I wouldn't mind hearing some of this type of stuff mixed in with the band's heavier material.

"Choice Cuts from the Chopping Block" is limited to 1,000 CD copies and is hand signed and numbered. 

Oil are also featured on Dwell's "2000-A Second Coming" compilation and Temporary Insanity - A Deliverance Tribute.

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