Black Oath - The Third Aeon
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Italian doom metal outfit Black Oath are already five years old as a band, but in that time have only released an EP, a split and a single, so this debut full-length could perhaps be considered long overdue, but is entirely worth the wait. Taking almost all of their cues from Candlemass, which is just as well with the Swedish legends about to record their farewell album, and with an extra layer of occult lyrics, The Third Aeon is six lengthy tracks of pure doom riffing, with obligatory chants in the background and occasional clean passages. Vocalist/guitarist A.th's voice is basically akin to a marginally higher, less aggressive Robert Lowe mixed with any number of the young doom rock singers around at the moment, and while the production is perhaps less crisp than Candlemass's recent efforts, they certainly have a lot more going for them than occult doom darlings Ghost. Most of that is in the riff department where they don't stand still for very long at all before moving on to the next piece of delightfully doomy heaviness, made all the more necessary by making each track at least seven minutes long. The constant rise and fall of the pace throughout each track, occasional switching to softer parts before ramping another, different riff, and seeming to never do anything for the sake of it, make The Third Aeon an incredibly accomplished doom album, especially for a debut release, and one of the best of the year.
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