Monday, August 13, 2012

Review of "Near Death Experience" by Darkness By Oath

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Buy this album

1. Into the Gloom
2. In an Obscure Eternity
3. Viole(n)t Intentions
4. N.D.E
5. A Cry of Terror (Voices from Nowhere)
6. Holloworld
7. Steams of Blood
8. Unequivocal Evil Excitement
9. Fallen Angel of Death
10. Last Emotion
11. Terror in a Thousand Faces

“DARKNESS BY OATH, was formed back in 2002, influenced by the so-called Gothenburg sound. The band started composing new songs, and after some months did their very first recording. They recorded a cover of "The Swarm" from the Swedish melodic death/thrash masters AT THE GATES. The track was included on the "Slaughterous Souls - A Tribute to AT THE GATES" compilation, released on September 2004 by DROWNED SCREAM Records and GOI Music. During 2005 DARKNESS BY OATH recorded a demo on its own rehearsal place and played live the first time, entering Shot! Studios on March, in order to record the debut album, "Confidential World Of Lies", that was released in 2006 by DROWNED SCREAM Records and INDAR PRODUCTIONS. After releasing the album, the band did about 30 shows supporting "Confidential World of lies" around the whole Basque and Spanish geography and stopped playing gigs in January 2007. Right after, the band started composing new material for what it would be their second album. This second effort was recorded at Sound Source studios and mixed and mastered in Sweden, by no other than Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Bloodbath…) during November-December 2007. During the mixing and mastering process and due to some personal circumstances and lack of time, Ruben Alonso decided to part ways with the band, in amicable terms. A replacement was found in Gorka Otero (Bioterror) who joined the band quite fast and started rehearsing with the whole band by that very same time. Once the album was completed, the band started sending out promo CDs to lots of labels worldwide, and some of them showed interest and asked for the whole album. After that, real proposals were done and after several e-mails and whatnot, the deal with CYCLONE EMPIRE was nearly done by August 2008, with only some aspects yet to concrete and the contract to sign. Finally, the official announcement of the record deal was done by late November, and "Fear Yourself" was released in March 2009. Over the years the band has taken part in different concerts and festivals like ZABBADUSCHDER OPEN AIR (Germany), BARBARIAN FEST (Belgium), REVOLTALLO FESTIVAL (Spain), promoting their albums sharing the stage with bands like, DARK TRANQUILITY, GOD DETHRONED, WARBRINGER, NEAERA, ONE MAN ARMY AND UNDEAD QUARTET, HAEMORRAGE, KATAPLEXIA and many others. The band finished their third album Near Death Experience in November 2011 which was recorded and mixed by Tristan Iñiguez in Auryn Studios. It contains 11 tracks and including guest appearances by Anders Björler (At the Gates, The Haunted) and Mario Illiopoulos (Nightrage). The album will be released on March 23rd 2012 by CYCLONE EMPIRE Records in Europe and on August 14th, 2012 by Metal Blade Records in North America.”

This album starts off with an instrumental, “Into the Gloom.” It starts off and with a slower, mellow guitar riff and then band comes in and continues same riff but a lot heavier. It didn’t mesh right into the next track but it was decent. “In an Obscure Eternity” is a good track to base opinions off of this band. The solo was good, the main riff was catchy, and vocals are nice and heavy with both highs and lows. You couldn’t ask for much more from these guys.

There is a weird intro clip to start off “Viole(n)t Intentions,” but after that it goes right into blast beats and in your face riffs. There are a few melodic parts but weren’t overly done which was nice because they maintained their heaviness. The ending is a little acoustic diddle which leads nicely into the next track “N.D.E.” The first riff keeps the format of the diddle which makes it mold nicely. I’m really digging the guitar on this track, it felt a little less repetitive then the two tracks before it. The high and low vocals meshed together sounded dirty and this is one of my favourites on this album.

“A Cry of Terror (Voices from Nowhere)” is a catchy tune, with its melodic but in your face riffs that never give up which makes you want to punch babies. To mellow you out after that brutality, the more so laid back and mellow compared too the rest of the album, “Holloworld” helps you recuperate. The harmonic bits and the leads are amazing, making this a great instrumental. Back to brutality, “Steams of Blood,” is one of those mosh everything in sight songs with the speed and fast pounding drumming. This track makes me feel like breaking my apartment.

The next song, “Unequivocal Evil Excitement,” continues to show that Darkness By Oath knows how to make songs catchy with heavy melodic bits. The solo was nice, the short chuggy/slam bits were good too. The long high and low scream at the beginning of “Fallen Angel of Death” was brutal. This song is all about the melodic riffs more so than heavy, but it doesn’t take away from the song. The low vocals were especially gnarly on this and to end it there is another acoustic diddle.

“Last Emotion” has a good mix of heavy and melodic sounding parts. The more heavy and brutal riff about half way through was great with the chugs. That riff reminded me of stuff my friend plays and that kind of riff always sounds good. The last song, “Terror in a Thousand Faces,” was a great way to end it with a lot of catchy riffs. The solo a third into the song was unexpected and meshed nicely off of the riff prior to it. The mellow bit about two thirds of the way in was really chilled and unexpected as well. For it being the last song, Darkness By Oath definitely pulled out a lot of stuff I wasn’t expecting at all which was really nice.

I really recommend picking this up if you like death metal. Be it melodic death metal or just the straight up in your face style, you will like this album. The melodic parts on this album aren’t over done and keep the heavy style going. Definitely give this band a listen and pick up this album!

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