Review – The Oath: The Oath

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Review – The Oath: The Oath
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The Oath: The Oath
Doom Metal, Doom Rock, Heavy Metal
Rise Above Records
April 15th, 2014
Release length: 44:59
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The Oath, a band who supposedly got their name from the Mercyful Fate classic Don’t Break the Oath, is an all female two-piece from Berlin, Germany. The entity is composed of Linnea Olsson (Sonic Ritual, former Slingblade) and Johanna Sadonis (former Dies Ater and Cryogenic). The Doom Metal/Rock duo came together in 2012 and issued a two song single titled Night Child / Black Rainbow through High Roller Records a year later. Literally one year after that recording and The Oath find themselves signed with the ever distinguished Rise Above Records to issue their debut self-titled full-length. Is this a band getting a strong push from one of the style’s most respected modern labels, or is this release far from impressive?

Much like one might expect from an Occult or Psychadelic Rock album today, The Oath has a very intimate, dimly lit audio quality to it. It isn’t raw, in fact the instruments and echoed clean singing all sound crisp, as do some of the background effects in the intriguing “Psalm 7.” Right away it feels like the kind of recording to turn the lights off to and just drift away with, especially when the pace slows down. “Leaving Together” is a brooding slab of Doom Metal disguised as a lighter Rock offering, baring its fangs past the four minute mark with a superb solo. The passion in the clean singing helps to make the tight guitars and faster taps of the drums more emotionally charged, as if Johanna is singing to you, and only you, a constant theme that appears not only in that aspect, but also in the music on this and many other songs.

While there’s a good number of slower tracks to get lost in, there are a few upbeat cuts that throw some Mercyful Fate-grade Heavy Metal chugging into the mix. This is actually how The Oath starts off thanks to “All Must Die.” The main verses and some bridges carry a glorious sensation to them, accentuated by a solid bass presence that often gives the slower haunting chorus or slight Punk touch about three and a half minutes in some extra beauty to go with its bite. “Silk Road” follows that with a nice Rock touch, catchy upbeat gallop and enthusiastic singing. It’s an infectious cut to begin with, but throw in the distinctive bass rhythm and the melodic chorus with its simple hooks, and you get a nice mixture of Black Sabbath Doom with a subtle addition of what seems to be The Beatles thrown in.

“Night Child” is one of the most interesting offerings of the release though. While not necessarily dark, or at all really that Doom oriented, it actually has more of a So-Cal Surfer Rock presence with a mystical chorus that sounds like a spell is being cast over you at the beach through the flickering glow of midnight fire someone you don’t know had created. “Black Rainbow” shows traces of two-stepping Speed Metal in the vein of Motorhead in the main verses, while the chorus returns to that Mercyful Fate approach that is really short, but very sweet thanks largely to the transitions in and out. The guitar solo and drum build about three minutes in takes the atmosphere the melodic bits create and adds a minute long ritualistic rhythm that’s simply a nice touch.

The Oath seems to have a little something for everyone, and it all works so very well together. Each track is a unique experience with the common theme of intimate audio, some haunting or occultish atmospheres, and infectious performances. Everything about this album is just soothing, as if both the music and singing are speaking directly to you, as if cult leaders luring you into their web. If you enjoy the Doom Rock or Doom Metal worlds at all, The Oath have an album that’s right up your alley. Are you sick and tired of listening to far too trippy or psychadelic performances? How about bands carbon copying the pioneers of the fields on every song? Are you just sick of the current state of Doom Rock that just doesn’t seem to get it right time and time again, over and over no matter how many times you give it a shot, always seeming to fail you one way another? Well if this is something that sickens you then fear not! There is a ray of hope at the end of that long repetitive tunnel, and it is brought by two convincing women who have a special message called The Oath that you will want to hear…

01. All Must Die – 6:45
02. Silk Road – 4:22
03. Night Child – 3:45
04. Leaving Together – 6:13
05. Black Rainbow – 5:57
06. Silver and Dust – 4:59
07. Death Delight – 3:23
08. In Dream – 2:14
09. Psalm 7 – 7:22
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

The Oath

Digital review copy of this release provided by Rise Above Records via Freeman Promotions.