Quite the fuss has been brewing around this record, receiving much acclaim and selling out consecutive live shows, Oathbreaker have broken ground with "Rheia", the Belgian bands third studio full length to date. Initially I didn't hear what the fuss was about but it was singer Caro Tanghe and her absorbing, personal performance that sucked me into the record and it is she who is very much so the conductor in this orchestra of distressing darkness that mingles between a burgeoning heavy frenzy of metallic guitars and the flickering of light that emanates in the moments of macabre calmness that is forever swaying back and forth.
Instrumentally its a common Post-Metal affair, tinged with a human blackness and swooning between its more acoustic eccentric tones and moments of dizzying aggression where blast beats pummel loosely. A constant feeling of momentum and scale is perpetuated, climaxed in the heavier outbreaks and given depth and atmosphere where it all slows down. A few moments of conventional riffing intersect what is mostly a tremolo of shimmering chord progressions steadily expanding through relatively lengthy songs, mostly around seven or more minutes.
It is with Tanghe that this record comes together, her performance gives a very emotional, human context that delves into the depths of loneliness and depression. It is not just through the words of her twisted, manic screams that this comes across, but in the performance that sways as she erupts from her vulnerability into a wretched beast of spite. The back and forth is obvious, sometimes sudden but always with anticipation and build up that has genuine brilliance despite seeming a little simplistic on paper.
Without her performance I think many aspects of these songs would fail to create quite the emotional response, however the instrumentals are pretty fantastic in there own right. It is Tanghe who elevates and illuminates the record to the next step. Her screams twisted and haunting, her clean vocals sensitive, shy and defenseless. The moments in which the two cross over are magic, quite theatrical yet grounded in a gritty honesty, it alone makes the record for me.
Favorite Tracks: Being Able To Feel Nothing, Needles In Your Skin, Immortals, Begeerte