Black Oath – Ov Qliphoth And Darkness

To say that Italy at this time is one of the vanguards of the world doom scene might appear to be an excess of optimism or, at worst, an uncontrollable attack of chauvinism: perhaps it may not be so from the quantitative point of view, but under the qualitative aspect our bands really fear no comparison. To avoid displeasing or forgetting anyone I will not skim the rather long list of names that, in recent years, have given to the presses works of high thickness and that, not coincidentally, have received more attention and resonance abroad than at home, but for true fans it would be all in all a useless operation. Black Oath, a reality with a still relatively short history but already rich in releases in various formats, rightfully enters this list: this Ov Qliphoth And Darkness is in fact only their second full length and only reinforces the positive impressions aroused with the debut The Third Aeon dating back two years ago. The doom of the Milanese band pertains to the most classic branch of the genre, the one, to be clear, that makes its own the lesson of Candlemass, Pentagram, Saint Vitus and company, all flavored, however, by that dark esoteric charm that in our parts is a rule and not an exception. In the end, Black Oath‘s recipe is not at all shocking: slow but not pachydermic tracks, which follow a well-defined melodic line, indulged by a sober, linear, but absolutely effective singing by the excellent A.Th. After the usual intro, For His Coming opens the dances with a song as evocative as it is in line with tradition, and the same can be said for the equally convincing Sinful Waters and Scent Of A Burning Witch. Witch Night Curse is introduced by a somber keyboard (reminiscent of the never-quite-regretted Cultus Sanguine) and then unravels into a slow march toward the abyss, while A.Th. continues to expertly conjure terrifying and dark rituals. Drakon, Its Shadow Upon Us matches the previous track in its evocative charge, and it seems safe to say that this total quarter-hour of music best represents the trio’s unquestionable abilities. The title track and the concluding …My Death are the final stages of yet another fascinating musical journey with no return into the unknown. Despite the well-deserved praise of the domestic doom scene with which I began the review, in seeking, however, some affinity with other recently released records, I would place Ov Qliphoth And Darkness in the same stylistic segment as the equally good Doominicanes by the Polish Evangelists. But, in cases such as these, comparative terms are useful only to provide a rough idea to those who have not yet had the good fortune to listen to a few fragments of this valuable work which, although inevitably devoted to those who have already walked this mysterious and pain-strewn path in the past, has well stamped the trademark of the band that composed and recorded it.

2013 – I Hate Records / Horror Records