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Black Oath : Behold The Abyss

A welcome and balanced fourth full-length outing from proggy Italian Trad Doomsters Black Oath.

'Behold the Abyss' sees Italy's Black Oath release their fourth full-length album since their 2011 debut, 'The Third Aeon'. Formed in 2006, influences were taken from a diverse range of artists to create a sound that features elements of Trad Doom, Gothic Rock and even shades of Prog. Indeed, on the album's press release, vocalist and founding member, A Th, compared the new album to 'Ozzy singing with Goblin/PFM'. An interesting and tantalising concept for this reviewer, given that I only discovered Goblin recently after watching Dario Argento's cult horror movie, 'Suspiria', to which they provided the score.

The album begins strongly with the title track, 'Behold the Abyss', which, at just over 9 minutes, is the longest track on the album. It's apparent straight away as the album kicks off that Black Oath mean business. Beginning with an ominous arpeggiated riff that ultimately morphs into a stomping Trad Doom behemoth, with numerous changes of pace as the song progresses, there's a lot going on here. A strong vocal from A Th drives things forwards, with some soaring solo work delivered over a riff that speeds up to lightning fast pace all contributing to an epic Doom journey with a definite nod to Black Oath's prog heroes.

Clocking in at around 42 minutes, 'Behold the Abyss' is a relatively short album, certainly by Doom standards, but it certainly packs a serious amount of meaningful content into its 6 tracks. 'Lilith Black Moon', for instance, is laden with supertight riffing, interesting changes in speed, lengthy instrumental passages and a sense of controlled chaos. There's so much going on, in fact, that it's impossible to fully appreciate with one listen. This is an album that will reward further listening, offering more with each play. This reviewer has had a good four or five full play throughs, and is still picking up more with each listen.

There's even a bit of Goth influence at work here and there, particularly on 'Once Death Sang', which features female vocals and the kind of eerie melodies beloved of Fields Of The Nephilim, Sisters Of Mercy et al, and on closing number, 'Everlasting Darkness' which brings the album to a sorrowful close with a dark and emotional flourish. It's a fitting end to a rollercoaster of an album that takes the listener on myriad twists and turns, changes of pace and direction, and creates a desire to get back on the ride and do it all again. 'Behold the Abyss' is a well-balanced, accomplished release that draws on the band's influences to create a powerful sound.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Behold The Abyss
2. Chants Of Aradia
3. Lilith Black Moon
4. Once Death Sang
5. Profane Saviour
6. Everlasting Darkness

Duration : Approx. 42 minutes

Visit the Black Oath bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-01-04 by Nick Harkins
Aesthetic Death
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