Release Date: Sep 30, 2016
Record label: Deathwish
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Belgian metallic hardcore outfit Oathbreaker have always struggled deliciously against the shackles of the genre they operate within, preferring to throw themselves against the bars of their chosen cage and record the clamour than try and operate comfortable within in. With their third full-length, Rheia, they have torn those restraints clean out of the wall, releasing a vast and complex record that doesn't just react toward but actively embraces the aesthetics of doom and sludge. Many of the songs are massive and devastating, like the stomping morass of Being Able to Feel Nothing," tar-drenched and hate-soaked.
A couple years ago, Belgium’s Oathbreaker were just another band that had some skill in merging shimmery melodies with blastbeats: an alluring and even comforting sound, if not the most original. In the three years between Eros|Anteros and their latest record, Rheia, they’ve expanded their scope without losing their rage. The album transforms their own abilities and the breadth of the much heralded—and derided—black metal-shoegaze fusion.
Review Summary: The OlympiansRheia is ambitious and hard-hitting, but kindles a slow-burning hypnosis. Belgian hardcore/BM group Oathbreaker have expanded upon their last effort, Eros | Anteros, in terms of sound and scope, and crafted their epinicia. In its earlier moments, Rheia is frantic and jawdropping; in its later moments, the sixty-plus-minute epic is far more mystically subdued.
Oathbreaker’s third album finds them pushing the boundaries of what metal can be while, oddly, not bringing all that much new to the table. They aren’t exactly blazing a trail, but the path they’re on certainly isn’t a well-worn one. Rheia is often a study in contrasts. There are the obvious ones such as soft and loud, fierce and gentle, and screaming and singing.