For a death metal band that has really only been around for three years Blood Oath are off to an impressive start with their old school sound. It isn’t an easy realm to stand out in and their careful study of bands like Autopsy, Asphyx, and early Death they’ve found a solid authentic old school death metal sound. Sure, groups like Maim, Mordbrand and Anatomia might have more experience and their 2017 releases came out with better production and professional sound; I would argue that all of those releases suffer from overly long playtime without any truly interesting variation or memorable moments. Production sound can’t carry a band through repeated listens. It isn’t enough to be a group of freaks that worship 90’s death metal! You’ve got to write great death metal songs and carry them with guitar riffs that keep jaded old fans coming back for more. I’ll suggest Blood Oath have done just that with ‘The Line Between’.
Blood Oath’s thrash influenced riffing, swirling lead guitars, and ‘Consuming Impulse’ level raw brutality allow for a debut free of filler tracks or irritating repetition. The guitar arrangements aren’t experimental or as psychedelic as the cover art suggests but the flow of rhythm guitar riffing is phenomenal and stutter-free. The vocalist uses soured Martin Van Drunen shouts that lend an aggression to the music that reminds me of Mercyless‘ ‘Abject Offerings’, a personal favorite album of mine. As a whole this EP brings to mind the success of Tomb Mold, another relatively new band that have figured out the right way to do old school death metal and not just sound like pandering overproduced nonsense (see: Paganizer).
Comparing ‘The Line Between’ EP with their demo tracks from 2015 and the ‘Putrid Mind’ EP it is plain to see a band driven to improve and achieve their sound and it reminds me a lot of the path Morbus Chron had taken just before they released ‘Sleepers in the Rift’ though Blood Oath still has a ways to grow up to that level. They seem fully capable of bigger things while still dedicated to tasteful old school death metal ideas. ‘The Line Between’ is a great achievement for such a young band and I hope more material is in the works for a full-length.
|Released||December 1, 2017|
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