Oath Of Damnation - Official Website
Fury And Malevolence
Review by Carl on April 1, 2023.
In my neurotic alphabetically ordered cd collection we find, next to Oath Of Cruelty, an Aussie band by the name of Oath Of Damnation. Why this useless piece of information, you ask? Because these reviews need some sort of introduction, that's why. Now be quiet and pay attention, because here we go.
One could easily (and lazily) shove Oath Of Damnation in between bands like Belphegor, Dargonomel and Behemoth, but that would do them a disservice in my opinion, because there's definitely more to them than that. I admit that those bands do shine through, but I also hear the influence of Atheist, early Gorguts, some stabs of Nocturnus, and the 90's output of both Death and Pestilence in the excellent riffing and guitar leads. The overall execution is spot-on, and the gruff, gravel-throated vocals, thunderous percussion and menacing guitar work are simply awesome. The most striking element of their sound is the band making room for a copious amount of symphonic keyboard ambience, adding the music with a majestic and powerful angle. It's an approach that reminds me of a less nihilistic Anorexia Nervosa, later Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and early Bal Sagoth, and I'd dare to say, even a touch of Rammstein. Combined with the powerful blackened death metal the band have on offer, Oath Of Damnation concoct a fierce mixture of both black and death metal, even managing to hint at a sound of their own. I was surprised to find out they were an Australian band, because this is a style I'd more expect from a US band, to be honest.
The production is clear as day, with every instrument having its place in the mix, and the music been given the proper massive, heavy and majestic sound, with only the percussion sounding a bit dry. Personally, I have to admit that it is perhaps just that bit too slick for my taste, but at the same time it has to be said that music as imposing as this simply has no use for any "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" type of production. As a whole this album sounds as smooth as butter, and it goes in just as supple.
This is a collection of way above average blackened death metal, graced with a solid production, as well as impressive execution and arrangements. Both frenetic energy and pounding crush go hand in hand as aggressive blast beat propelled sections are being interspersed with heavy slower parts, with the orchestration adding a grandiose angle to the whole, allowing the tracks to burrow themselves into the brain in no time. This deserves to be heard, for sure. It's way better than what Behemoth has released these last 10 or so years, in my opinion.
This is a release that could be of interest for a wide audience. Apart from the acts name-checked above, I also heard touches of Cradle Of Fith, Allegiance (SWE), Angelcorpse and Limbonic Art seep through, and Oath Of Damnation could well appeal to fans of all those already mentioned.
Great stuff, for sure!
Rating: 8.5 out of 10690