Crust Punk / Atmospheric Black Metal • Belgium
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Oathbreaker is a band from Belgium who formed in 2008 and released their debut self-titled EP the same year. Originally playing hardcore punk/crust punk, the band adopted a blackgaze/post-metal sound on their third full-length album Rheia, released in 2016.

- Biography by adg211288, October 2016.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and Bosh66 for the updates


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OATHBREAKER Mælstrøm album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Crust Punk 2011
OATHBREAKER Eros|Anteros album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
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OATHBREAKER Rheia album cover 4.04 | 8 ratings
Atmospheric Black Metal 2016


OATHBREAKER Oathbreaker album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
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OATHBREAKER Amenra / Oathbreaker album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
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OATHBREAKER An Audiotree Live Session album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
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Live at Vooruit | Ghent, BE
Crust Punk 2015



Album · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Oathbreaker's Rheia finds the band walking away from the crust punk that had characterised their early work, instead hitching their wagon to the "blackgaze" style of shoegaze-influenced atmospheric black metal.

Oathbreaker's particular approach is to do the whole quiet/loud/quiet/loud thing which the post-rock crowd love so, with quieter sections of reflective post-rock alternating with louder black metal sections. Lead vocalist Caro Tanghe offers pleasant enough clean singing during the post-rock/shoegazey sections and reasonably wild shrieks during the black metal sections, and in general the album comes across as a competent exercise in working this particular formula, but on the whole I found that it's rather unsatisfying.

To me, the quiet sections on their own would not constitute especially satisfying post-rock, and the loud sections on their own would not constitute especially satisfying black metal, and whilst you can construct a whole greater than the sum of its parts from such material, Oathbreaker don't quite manage it here. Check it out if you're really keen on the whole blackgaze style.


Album · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Belgian band Oathbreaker have up until now been known as a crust punk act but on their third album Rheia they've made a jump into black metal instead. At first though this isn't apparent as the record starts up. Vocalist Caro Tanghe starts singing unaccompanied. She sounds gentle and sweet. Gradually the band join her, playing equally soft and not at all indicative of the onslaught that is about to be unleashed. Two minutes eleven and it's just enough time to wonder if you've somehow got the wrong album on.

Then all hell breaks loose.

That shift between the short opener 10:56 and the first full metal song, Second Son of R. is a defining moment of Rheia, but it's only just the beginning of this black metal journey. Rheia seems to usually get described as a blackgaze album but I'm not sure I agree with that. I find most blackgaze to represent the extreme soft end of the black metal genre and while this album does have it's fair share of soft sections like 10:56 the full on metal sections feel far too intense to be accurately described as blackgaze. There is a sludge metal influence in here too so I'd personally call it post-black metal, of the most aggressive kind rather than the traditional atmospheric kind. I guess the blackgaze term may come from the amount of softer sections of music on the album, as even Second Son of R. turns softer before its conclusion, or the fact there's metal songs with mostly clean singing like Being Able to Feel Nothing, but then again Myrkur is like that and no one calls that blackgaze, so it's puzzling why this has been lumped into the same movement.

While the music itself doesn't ultimately show itself to be as out there and unusual as what some black metal acts have been delivering albums in the last few years, Rheia is delivered with such fire and conviction that I couldn't help but instantly be won over by the band. Caro Tanghe is the obvious star here, equally comfortable with the gentle clean singing and the frantic screaming. A brilliant record overall.


Album · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Having now been around since 2008 and playing hardcore/crust punk, Belgian band Oathbreaker seem to have decided that it must be time to shake things up with their third full-length offering Rheia (2016), on which they have produced a record that seems to have little to do with their previous genre, and brings them more fully into metal territory that has flavoured their past releases.

Specifically Rheia finds Oathbreaker playing a sound somewhere between blackgaze and atmospheric sludge metal (post-metal), with a strong influence of post-rock. They start the album off with the short 10:56 which will gently lull the listener into a false sense of security with its soft tone and soothing vocals by frontwoman Caro Tanghe, and then wham! Second Son of R. kicks in and suddenly the record sounds absolutely ferocious, with blazing guitars and blackened shrieks replacing the clean vocals. The band don't shirk away from softer material throughout, notably with the closing track Begeerte, but they're usually pretty damn heavy.

I haven't personally heard Oathbreaker's previous work as hardcore/crust punk isn't a style that typical holds much interest for me (anything I've said about their past work in this review is based on research), but Rheia sure proves that they know how to make a black metal album. Their music can be quite violent for something which falls into the atmospheric black metal spectrum which may be due to some residual influence from their hardcore punk roots, but all the aggressive parts are well balanced by the softer post-rock influenced parts, which can take on quite an ethereal quality. One thing that instantly struck me about the record is that in some ways it reminded me of this year's Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas collaboration Mariner (2016). If that album had been a black metal album, it would probably sound something like Rheia.

Caro Tanghe continually switches between clean singing and growls on the album. The growls are fierce and powerful while the clean singing is what most puts me in mind of the earlier comparison to Mariner, as her style is quite similar to Julie Christmas'. Likewise the music also keeps switching between heavy and light styles but not always in sync with the vocals as Caro Tanghe sometimes sings cleanly over heavy parts. The song-writing on the album feels fairly consistent though I do have to say that I’m Sorry, This Is has to be considered something a downer as it feels like an interlude piece due to featuring minimal music topped by whispers and the sound of children playing, but at over four minutes just goes on for too long, and thus disrupts the otherwise good flow of the album. Rheia isn't the kind of record that offers up much by way of surprise once it's underway, but apart from that one blip it remains strong throughout, with particular standouts being Second Son of R., Being Able to Feel Nothing, Needles in Your Skin and Where I Leave.

Rheia is overall an interesting and decent record from Oathbreaker. I can't say for certain how well it will be received by fan's of the band's previous hardcore/crust punk albums, but as a black metal fan I dig it. Sludge metal fans are also recommended to check it out.

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