Saturday 28 November 2015

Black Oath - To Below And Beyond (Album Review)

Release date: November 2nd 2015. Label: -Doomentia/Elektroplasma/Equinox Discos.. Format: CD/DD/Tape/Vinyl

To Below And Beyond – Tracklisting

1.Donum Dei 02:20
2.Wicked Queen 07:43
3.I Am Athanor 07:54
4.Mysterion 07:03
5.Flesh To Gold 09:22
6.Sermon Through Fire 04:53
7.Healing Hands Of Time 07:14
8.To Below And Beyond (Ars Diaboli) 08:44

Band Members: - Vocals/Guitars/Bass
Bon R. - Guitars
Chris Z - Drums
The Uninvited Guest (Live Guitar)


Black Oath are a doom metal band from Milan who specialise in dark and occult tracks that feature swirling riffs and solos and their new album To Below And Beyond is no exception.

After Donum Dei, a sinister intro that combines the use of guitar, piano and spoken word passages into an atmospheric soundscape that wouldn't be out of place in a classic horror movie, To Below And Beyond begins with Wicked Queen, a song that starts innocently enough with a melodic guitar before a huge riff kicks in and some powerfully melodic vocals enhance the sound as the riff drives the song forward, the music changes pace halfway through and gives way to a more doomy and slow paced Celtic Frost-esque vibe for the rest of the track and is a great way to start things off.

The album continues in this vein, melodic classic metal mixed with epic doom with an occult feel to the whole thing, and with vocalist, this crystal clear vocal style taking centre stage this certainly adds mystique to the whole thing.

The highlight of To Below And Beyond has to be Mysterion, a song where the dirge of the bass creeps right through the song and becomes utterly inescapable to the point of consuming the song, the only respite is the vocals that act as a barrier from the bass led nastiness but ends with a beautiful melodic passage that cleanses your ears after what has gone on before.

The mournful Flesh To Gold is another highlight, a song full of sorrow that is reminiscent of The Angel And The Dark River era My Dying Bride and the track sounds like a cross between a funeral march, classic metal and more trad doom styles and the likes of the instrumental Sermon Through Fire (with its eerie vibe and dizzyingly vicious riffs throughout), the epic Healing Hands Of Time and the storming Wicked Queen ensure that any doom metal fiends will get their fix of what they desire with ease here.

The musicianship on To Below And Beyond is fantastic with every riff, solo and rhythm nailed to perfection ( the guitar solo on I Am Athanor in particular deserves particular attention) and the members of Black Oath certainly know their stuff when it comes to doom metal, the riffs are epic, the solos tight and precise while the rhythm section of the band hold things down with their pounding dirge and give the album a touch of doom laden class.

Black Oath have made an album that is rich in both doom metal and both of these styles collide in triumphant style.

Words by Gavin Brown

- CD version released in 2015 by Doomentia.
- D-LP version to be released in 2015 by Elektroplasma.
- TAPE version to be released in 2015 by Equinox Discos.