OathA new filthy force emerging from the foggy forests of Finland (well they probably live somewhere quite respectable but it sounds good) are Oath. This duo has only been active since 2012 but have already accrued a couple of EP’s and a split and are now ready to unleash Satan upon the Holy Land in the form of their debut album. It looks like between them V.Khaoz (drums) and Grim666 (everything else) have been involved in plenty of other underground acts in the past and have no doubt brought the experience with them to forge forward with a suitably proficient but admirably primitive and raw piece of work here.

I think we get a message at first which is backward masked, no doubt it’s satanic in the extreme rather than the vocalist attempting to cough up a fur-ball. From this ‘Beast Of Revelation’ charges in with feral intensity behind the flailing guitars and rabid snarling vocals. Underneath it all there is some keyboard work but this will become more apparent later on. Production wise it’s a little grimy, fizzy and fuzzy, sounding not quite right as though tones could be brought into line a bit more to flesh it out. I guess it works though and it does make the album sound a bit more on the strident side than it probably would have done otherwise. After this full blazing across the night sky opener the tone dramatically changes with ‘Lucifer Rising II’ which takes things into darker more crepuscular terrains. The keys lay out a more gloom laden melody and everything slows down. Vocals are still climatically shrieking but this is music for a frosty sharp night with the moon casting a sullen glow. It’s rather necrotic and tonal wise definitely reminds me of Xasthur a bit before it sharpens claws and cleaves back in again. It does however prove that the duo have a bit of diversity about them and the seven tracks combine both styles. I think personally I prefer them when they are slower with the keyboards more up front due to the frigid atmospheres and the depressive feel of the music. Best example of this in my opinion is on penultimate track ‘Ei Jumalaa, Ei Pelastusta’

With songs in both English and Finnish you get the best of both aspects, whatever nationality things are sung in it’s all very anti-Christian as one would expect. This is across the board including the excellent wood cut cover art The Temptation Of Saint Anthony by Martin Schongauer. I do like the way the band members are portrayed in a similar style inside the booklet too, credit  for this going to Moornebheym who illustrated the whole artwork booklet and layout.  All in all a very promising debut, only real niggle being the aforementioned sound issues.

(7.5/10 Pete Woods)