On their third album, Belgium’s Oathbreaker attempt to draw more of Caro Tanghe’s singing voice from behind the walls of nails-across-chalkboard screeching.
It’s an admirable goal – and 2013’s Eros|Anteros had glimpses of this – but with these dramatically high-foreheaded moves, the results can end up mood-flattening and/or ponderous.
For all its post-metal erudition, Rheia highlights that Oathbreaker are at their best when cracking out furious blasts of blackened hardcore. The vocal soliloquies, swelling spaciousness and doomy ambient sequences can work, but make for drawn-out clumsiness too. Considering that the band has an eight-year history of outsider status and that guitarist Lennart Bossu is also a member of sludge/doom heroes Amenra, the lack of cohesion during the experimental passages is surprisingly ineffective and disappointing.