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Oathbreaker – “Immortals”

The Belgian quartet Oathbreaker don’t belong to any existing metal subgenre, and the self-ascribed subgenres listed on their Bandcamp don’t do much to clarify what their music actually sounds like: alternative (nope); black metal (no); metal (I mean, yeah, I guess, but what does that even tell you?); punk (same); hardcore (ehhh); metallic hardcore (you mean like NAILS? Or Killswitch Engage? In either case: nah, doesn’t apply here).

You’d do better to look at Oathbreaker’s professional associations. The band’s forthcoming third LP, Rheia, is coming out on the excellent indie label Deathwish, which is run by Jacob Bannon of Converge, and which has pretty much cornered the market on bands that deal in the sorts of epic, aggressive, nuanced, noise-damaged, hook-heavy, world-devouring doomscapes in which Oathbreaker specialize: bands like Touché Amoré, Loma Prieta, and Planes Mistaken For Stars. Rheia was produced by Jack Shirley, best known (to me, anyway) for his peerless work with Deafheaven. That list of loosely connected names doesn’t exactly describe Oathbreaker’s music, admittedly, but it does a whole lot better than “alternative” and “metallic hardcore.”

It also sort of characterizes the band’s scope and approach. Rheia is an album of post-rock grandeur matched with d-beat violence. The most apt comparison I can come up with is Nux Vomica’s self-titled LP from 2014 — which is high fucking praise, as that was one of the best albums of its year, it still destroys two years later, and it really exists in a rarefied world unto itself. And now, Rheia resides nearby. But Oathbreaker are doing something much different, too. They’re most notably set apart by frontwoman Caro Tangle, who isn’t a pure screamer (although she’s a killer screamer, to be sure, when she shifts into those textures). Her delivery is often melodic, and multi-tracked, and it gives these gigantic songs greater mass and momentum, as well as humanity and maybe even vulnerability. When all the pieces come together, it’s a pretty majestic thing to witness. So … witness.

Rheia is out 9/30 via Deathwish. Pre-order it here. Oathbreaker are touring the States starting at the end of this month. Here are the dates:

09/28 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight #
09/29 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl ^
09/30 Savannah, GA @ The Jinx ^
10/01 Tampa, FL @ Crowbar ^
10/02 Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic ^
10/04 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia ^
10/05 Houston, TX @ White Oak ^
10/06 Dallas, TX @ RBC ^
10/07 Austin, TX @ Barracuda ^
10/09 Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge ^
10/10 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick ^
10/11 Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy ^
10/12 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge ^
10/14 Portland, OR @ Panic Room ^
10/15 Seattle, WA @ Highline ^
10/17 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar ^
10/18 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater ^
10/19 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room %
10/20 Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews %
10/21 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock %
10/22 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean %
10/23 Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter %
10/25 Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo %
10/26 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts %
10/28 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus %
10/26 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery %
10/30 Richmond, VA @ Hardywood Brewery %
 
# with Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, All Hell
^ with Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, Gatecreeper
% with Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, Homewrecker

Tags: Oathbreaker