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Oathbreaker has not been part of my universe before, though they have been around for almost a century. But good things come to those who wait and so great things come to those who don’t even know just how long they have been waiting before. Right in time for their third full-length attempt “Rheia” I stumbled upon a picture of Caro somewhere in the depths of the Deaf Forever online community. It was love at first sight and I knew if this band would sound anything as intense as this live capture was, this was going to be the next big thing for me and it is!

oathbreaker-rheiaPeeling off candle wax – Oathbreaker will suffer for their art

“Rheia” is the groundbreaking album from Belgium’s Oathbreaker. Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Prieta), “Rheia” is a true game changer for the genre. Blurring lines and dissolving the boundaries of heavy music as we know it today. Opener “10:56” begins with a haunting guitar riff and Caro Tanghe’s beautifully sung vocal before abruptly soaring to new heights with “Second Son of R”. Its blasts of melody mutate into a blackened buzz while waves of tempo changes pound down with intense emotional weight. “Being Able To Feel Nothing” then rolls in like a storm. Chaotically breaking apart to reveal the eye before churning once again. “Stay Here / Accroche-Moi” is an otherworldly reverb drenched acoustic number that leads to “Needles In Your Skin”. A deeply personal song that showcases the artistic strength vulnerability brings. It’s hard to believe that this is just the half way point of this post everything masterwork. “Immortals” then unfurls as a goose bump inducing monster. This leads to the ambitious “I’m Sorry, This Is”, “Where I Live”, and “Where I Leave”; A musical triptych that needs to be heard to be believed. All of it comes to an end with mesmerizing closer “Begeerte”. Ethereally materializing before vanishing into the beautiful unknown.

Modern Dance Lesson with Caro

Full album stream of “Rheia” is available on bandcamp – and you may order your copy of my personal runner-up of the album of the year at Deathwish. For anyone in the US and elsewhere please use this link or you may visit their European webstore here. Belgium’s got some great bands to offer and besides my affection for Bathsheba’s Michelle Nocon, there is enough room for Caro!

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