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BLACK OATH (The Third Aeon) CD

I am afraid I repeat myself when stating that Italy’s Black Oath have a sacral undertone in their sound. I am not sure why, but nearly everything doomy from Italy (that I have had the pleasure to review) has this element in the music. In the case of Black Oath it is only some kind of undertone which never becomes too obstrusive. Sure this element is strongly supported by the use of organ-like keyboard sounds and by the choir at the beginning of the last track 'The Black Oath', what can be seen as the band's anthem, too. In spite of this, the keyboards never dominate the heavy guitar sound. But anyways, when you listen to the first few minutes of the opener 'Death As Liberation' you would seriously consider those guys to be Italians.

They cannot deny influences of Death SS or Paul Chain but mix it with a big love for classic European Epic Doom. I am not the biggest fan of Epic Doom anymore but Black Oath’s advantage is that the vocals of guitarist A.th (yeah, that is what the label info says about his name, nothing more, and similar for the rest of the trio), on the one hand, match very well with the music, and on the other do not appear too theatrical. This way, I can get along with him pretty well. Sure there are some riffs that could not really inspire me or it seems to me that I have heard it before. But with the current boom of doom bands it is no wonder that sometimes this can happen to a reviewer.

What I think is missing, is an actual guitar solo. Sometimes, there are a few melodies to loosen up the slo-mo riffing but I still miss a real guitar solo. Otherwise I like it when the band demonstrates their skill in changing the riffs of the arrangment in a surprisingly manner without becomming too weird. A good example of this is the title track, 'The 3rd Aeon', which pays tribute to dark Italian Prog music. Furthermore, there are fine songs such as 'Evil Sorcerer' or the epic 'Horcell The Temple', where the band finally moves into mid-tempo metal territories. Both are classic Epic Doom stuff. At least, I cannot recall any recent release in this sub-genre that is every bit as essential as this album. The upshot: 'The Third Aeon' will satisfy the hunger of all epic doomsters.

(Thorsten Frahling)