Even if talking about the ritual of the dead hand can make one smile, thinking of wicked individuals at work on crowded buses or subways, this Blood Oath is in fact a very serious example of black doom composed and played with all the rules by this Belgian band. The two creators of all this, Lykaios and Isangrim, are musicians active in various Flemish bands and can also be found together in the excellent Hemelbestormer. Blood Oath consists of four long tracks, plus a short instrumental interlude, during which Rituals Of The Dead Hand offer a dark sound, mostly without melodic outlets but very compact, so much so as to be similar to the school of neighboring Germany (Privilegivm‘s Secrets Of The Moon seem to be a fairly plausible comparison). Obviously in this context there are post metal pulses and a density close to sludge, and all this contributes to create a sound of great effectiveness that, if it will not be remembered for its melodic impact, finds its reason in a dull hammering. A magnificent track like The Scourge explains everything much better than many words, with its suffocating, slowed down, distorted pace, which appears in its first part as the expression of a malevolent creature that surrounds your ankles preventing you from surfacing from a dense and stagnant liquid, and then opens in a more rhythmic final of pure black metal that also benefits from a beautiful melodic line. Blood Oath is a very good album, and it’s clear after a few notes that this, although it’s a debut for the band, is actually the result of the work of musicians with considerable experience and knowledge of the subject: all this makes it a highly recommended listen for those who appreciate this kind of sound.

2018 – Dunkelheit Produktionen