CD REVIEW Darkness By Oath

Band: Darkness By Oath
Title: Near Death Experience
Label: Cyclone Empire
Distribution: Sure Shot Worx
Release date: March 23rd 2012
Review: CD

Darkness By Oath hail from the Basque region in Spain, and the band was formed ten years ago. There were two full lengths in the past, Confidential World Of Lies in 2005 and Fear Yourself in 2009. The style these guys performed was clearly inspired by the Swedish scene; especially the so-called Gothenburg-approach did characterise Darkness By Oath’s (Death / Thrash) Metal. Unfortunately, none of them could satisfy me that much. Now, precisely three years after Fear Yourself, Cyclone Empire release this third Darkness By Oath full length, which has duration of forty three minutes.

Near Death Experience still is a very Swedish-inspired and Gothenburg-influenced effort, meaning: intense and harsh yet melodic and somewhat Thrash / Black-edged Death Metal in the vein of, for example, Eucharist, early In Flames, The Haunted, Dissection, Soilwork, Dismember or At The Gates. The main difference is not that this band suddenly sounds original, because they do not (at all). The major exception in comparison to the past is the increased intensity and therefore a stronger performance. Not only the tracks are more convincing; the whole sounds much more cohesive and coherent, and the total lack of creativity and originality gets excused by this better song writing, and ditto performance. It does sound as if it were written more than a decade and a half ago, yet with a production that exposes an updated spirit. And like the ancestors, it is catchy yet aggressive at the same time.

Honestly, if I didn’t know this album was a new Darkness By Oath release, I would surely think this was a Swedish act releasing nineties material, newly recorded yet barely modernised in approach. And that is a positive aspect. Therefore, again, I do consider Near Death Experience the best (or at least: the better) effort by Darkness By Oath to date.

Interesting addition: guest guitar solos by Anders Björler (The Haunted, Terror, Infestation, At The Gates a.m.m.) and Marios Iliopoulos (Nightrage, Exhumation).


Ivan Tibos.