Take all the best elements of BLACK SABBATH and DANZIG, combine them with some doom riffs, punky attitudes, occult themes, and psychedelic rhythms and grooves and you’ve got THE OATH, a band formed when Swedish guitarist Linnéa Olsson and German vocalist Johanna Sadonis met and began working together. This is a band that has a deep admiration for the albums of old, as is evidenced by the sound and production. Their self-titled debut record has that warm analog feel of vinyl and eight-tracks, the kind of thing you’d listen to up in your room while mom repeatedly screamed at you to get downstairs for dinner. But you couldn’t hear anything but the sweet sounds coming from your stereo.
Opener “All Must Die” and “Silk Road” get this evil retro-party started in fine fashion, and “Night Child” has not only the sickest groove, but Johanna just sounds so deliciously evil and seductive on it that you’ll be happily pressing REPEAT over and over. I don’t know how Olsson figured out how to capture a retro noisy guitar tone while managing to keep it original and fresh, but I’m just glad she rocks the way she does.
Even a slower number like “Leaving Together” has such an evil feel that you may find yourself waiting for the Seven Demons of Hell to drag you downstairs. Unfortunately, they didn’t come for me. Maybe you’ll have better luck. The band goes full-on MOTORHEAD for “Black Rainbow”, one of my other favorites. There is just something so perfect about the way the guitars and vocals complement each other on these songs that I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Having Simon Bouteloup ( KADAVAR/ex-AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR) play bass and Andrew Prestidge (ANGEL WITCH/WINTERS) on the drums really pays off on a song like “Silver and Dust” because it just feels so organic and vibrant.
Johanna sings with such authority on “Death Delight” and the song marches along behind her awaiting orders, and then it goes through an awesome breakdown section before resuming the task at hand. This is immediately followed by acoustic number “In Dream” that I felt was perfectly placed here. Closing things is the seven-minute epic “Psalm 7” which has a haunting funereal quality to it for much of the first half, allowing for some clean, watery guitars and expressive vocals. Then the proverbial shit hits the fan and it takes off at a gallop, riffs aplenty, pick scrapes, and a killer dual lead break to bring us on home.
I really enjoyed this debut from THE OATH and it is an album I would recommend highly, especially if you long for the warmth of those old records that a lot of bands today just can’t get right. I am also VERY curious to see/hear these tunes in a live setting. Look for our interview with Johanna soon, and be sure to pick up a copy and tell us what you thought. It’s available now via Rise Above Records.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Psalm 7”, “Black Rainbow”, “Night Child”, “Death Delight”, “Silver and Dust”