Darkness By Oath - Fear Yourself
Cyclone Empire
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (41:05)
Release year: 2009
Darkness By Oath, Cyclone Empire
Reviewed by Khelek

Darkness By Oath are a newer melodeath band from Spain, formed in 2002 and releasing their first full length album in 2005. This is the second album by the Spanish quintet and is a great listen if you like the sound of older melodeath from bands such as At The Gates or In Flames. While not going out of their way to create something that pushes the limits of the genre, the band has created something original and fun to listen to without simply copying their influences.

The first thing I noticed about the music is that the guitars have a really nice low, crunchy sound that reminds me of some other more modern melodeath bands, namely Insomnium. The vocals from frontman Aritz Nabarro also remind me somewhat of Insomnium's Niilo Sevänen, except perhaps a bit higher and less melancholy. For the most part the song structures stay in the realm of mid-paced with some faster stuff thrown in from time to time. As I said from the start, this is not the most original or varied album, but it is damn catchy and these guys are clearly very talented. The title track starts the album off with some great, heavy riffs that are memorable and get you into the music right away. The song remains short and to the point without any fluff. Pieces comes next and displays some more variety from the vocalist as he utilizes higher pitched screams, low growls, and even some cleaner vocals at one point. I also enjoyed the varied melodic guitar work going on in this song. Kingdom Of Denial is a longer song that starts out softer and slower with some clean electric guitar work, then breaks in with crushing riffs and the growls of Nabarro. The guitars do get a little repetitive, but it does not ruin the song by any means. Bleeding For My Sins sees a lot of raw emotion going into the sound as the singer sometimes uses a tortured screaming style offset by a much lower guttural growl. While he might not be the best vocalist ever, it always sounds to me like he is giving it his all. I do have to admit the drumming is a bit lackluster on this album as it does not add a whole lot to the sound. For the most part it is characterized by mid-paced double-bass work which gets the job done but doesn’t add the energy it could and should on the faster songs such as Echoes Of Silence and Nothing To Say. I also would have liked to see some more solo work from the guitarists as it sounds like they can write some really good stuff as far as songs go but for some reason there are not any really great solos to be found.

While I always enjoy a band that does something different and pushes the boundaries, I also appreciate those bands that stay true to the roots of a genre and Darkness By Oath are clearly inspired by bands that are the cornerstones of melodeath. Their sound might not go far off the beaten path, but they sound damn good doing it. They also never get boring with overly long interludes or try to impress with a lot of flashy solo work and, as the album is only ten tracks and 41 minutes long, they'll probably leave you wanting to hear more instead of less.

Killing Songs :
Pieces, Kingdom Of Denial, Echoes Of Silence, Bleeding For My Sins
Khelek quoted 78 / 100
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