August 6, 2013

GUEST POST: Oathbreaker - Eros|Anteros (2013)

(Today's review comes from our buddy Volo, who's a graphic artist, a drummer and a sweet bro. He turned me on to this ravenous band a few weeks ago and, even though I'm really into them, I couldn't figure out how to describe this mindblowing album. Luckily, Volo volunteered to write about Oathbreaker's latest effort, Eros|Anteros, and save me the embarrassment of laying out my stupid thoughts. Take it away!)

Hailing from Ghent, Belgium, Oathbreaker are a power house mixing black metal, Converge-ish hardcore and post metal to create a really heavy brutal sound. I first heard of them back in 2011 when Deathwish signed them. I immediately checked out their first EP and I dug it, although I can't say the same about Mælstrøm, their debut LP on Deathwish. It's not bad, but beside a couple of songs, the album is pretty generic for all the modern Converge-ish hardcore these days.

Fast forward to 2013 and Oathbreaker are back with a new LP, again Deathwish serving as a home for their music. This time around they recorded with Kurt Ballow of Converge fame, at the legendary Godcity in Salem, MA. If you're into this kind of music, you're familiar with the awesome stuff Kurt Ballou does, and Eros|Anteros is no exception: it sounds immense and ferocious.

Music wise, they stepped it up a notch. Beside the general heaviness and perfect production, the songs have a certain catchiness to them. The guitars are really loud and the drums are simply punishing, while some riffs have that crustcore feel to them, you know that ultra melodic and pinchy guitar riffs that Ekkaia had? Maybe it's just me, but they remind me of Ekkaia. Also the black metal elements that were really shy on Mælstrøm now just seem to flourish. There are a lot of black-ish guitar riffs in the vein of Altar of Plagues and I just love the blast beats that compliment those riffs. The post metal elements also seem to bloom more here: the album opener is a really atmospheric piece that acts like a buildup to the destruction of No Rest for the Weary , kind of similar to the whole crescendo in  post metal songs.

As far as vocals go, I just gotta say that Caro Tanghe did an awesome job. I really liked her clean vocals on the ending track of Mælstrøm, and I really wished I could hear more of that. Seems like my wishes came true: on some songs the rough screamed vocals are counterbalanced by the clean sweet vocals, which create a really eerie atmosphere.

All in all this is a great release, that really took me by surprise. It's a really huge step forward from their debut LP. Mælstrøm lacked a lot of elements that kept it from being a really good record, but Eros|Anteros fills all those gaps, making this one of the best records I've heard this year so far.

If you dig this band and this record, be sure to pick one up while they last at Deathwish Inc. and don't forget to catch them on tour this summer with the excellent Birds in Row.

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