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EP Review : Misery Oath – A Darker Path

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Review by Richard Henry for MPM

Relatively new act this, forming in 2021 and from Gothenburg in Sweden, a scene that is home to Melodic Death Metal and has been ground zero for years, so no pressure then!! Let’s see what these guys have to offer!

Track 1 – A Decade of Grief

Ok so straight off and I mean in the first ten seconds I am immediately taken to pre–Slaughter Era “At the Gates”, like Terminal Spirit era, there is nothing like kicking off an album with a scream, thrash beat and twin intertwined melodic riff! That’s a meaty production, the drums and guitars are crushing, we slow into a more half-time groove in the verse and an almost Black Metal delivery in the vocal, there’s plenty to catch with little melody parts trem picked outside of the main riff and then you get into the part 1:30 in, there are at least three different sections happening in the mix, really great drum mix, pinging off the ride cymbal, that section at three mins, that is as Gothenburg sounding as you will get, nice solo comes in really underpinning a melody, that’s the thing as heavy as this is, there is always melody there so it never becomes just punishing there is always something going on to catch your ear, great opener!

Track 2 – Feeder of Chaos

Floor toms to open this with a nice melodic pull off riff to compliment it before the rhythm and melody guitars start to intertwine again, I like the build, you can hear its going somewhere, then it drops into a heavy slow verse before it starts to pick up and drive, I like the way this one is twisting from section to section and when it really picks up into the thrash beat it’s like you have been on a journey! Ok, I was not expecting the clean vocals mixed in the chorus but a nice touch, nice melodic solo breaks the chorus to verse part, I like the break into the next riff, that is savage, then you have to worry about that next section as if you are in the pit you may be getting carried out, love it, the reintroduction of that pull off riff in the second chorus adding to what was already there in the first chorus is really good, then boom, we are out!

Track 3 – The Border

Straight to the point with this one, right in with a catchy riff and up tempo from the off, give me the blast beats, love the different vocal styles in this part, that chorus part really does verge on a black metal vibe before we add a melody guitar into the second part of it, yet again you have the familiar and then just a subtle addition to change it slightly! I really like the way the chorus changes into the middle section, the drums and bas carrying it while the guitars dance with the riff and melody then it changes to another riff, but the guitars are still counterpointing each other as the tempo shifts into a more mid heavy part before we get a really nice solo, very Paradise Lost sort of melody solo again, it really breaks up the song and adds to it massively having these melodic breaks against the more aggressive parts, that song is six minutes long and it felt like three, there was so much to keep you interested!

Track 4 – Corrosion State

A real straight-ahead sort of intro to this one, just a driving beat with a stripped back guitar part, still melodic but not as much going on as the previous tracks, then the double bass comes in and it just gets heavy and opens before we hit the verse, and the tempo goes back up again, love those thrashy riffs, again you hit the next part and the melody guitar comes in and it’s like the whole track just blooms, old school black metal beat comes in with a really heavy guitar riff, straight after the chorus there is another solo, again stays melodic but a little bit more flash in this one and some really nice playing. We get to another section after the next chorus where it’s a more stuttering kind of riff over the drum groove before the melody guitar comes prominent over the riff and then we launch back into the chorus again, good songwriting assembling all the parts to make a cohesive track!

Track 5 – Black Flowers

It can’t just be me that gets Dissection vibes from the start of this one, it’s like I have ventured into the cold north, I love the way that just broke into the next part, nice bass playing, then that riff in the verse just slaps you round the face, it actually reminds me of Angela era Arch Enemy this one, like a real fist in the air chorus, when it hits the blast beats in the second chorus that is just glorious, I absolutely loved that transition, I also love all the blast variations the drummer does, lovely break into that solo as well, and again some really nice playing but never show off sort of vibe, it really suits the song! That riff after the solo where it goes half time is just so God damn heavy before the break and the trem picked riff comes in, nice modulation of tempos there before we hit the chorus again, riding out with a lovely harmony solo, outstanding track!

Track 6 – A Darker Path

Mid-tempo double bass riff starting this one with a sliding melody over the top of it and then a drum break and into the thrash tempo again, great use of slashing to half time with that tom groove, then that old school blast beat with the two guitars playing counter point to each other, then a break into a chugging guitar and then bang right back into it again, I have said it already but the way the songs are built up, a band a decade into their existence would be pleased to put songs together like this never mind a few years old, that slow grinding riff halfway through is just absolutely crushing and the way the drums follow the guitars as the speed up and down is easy to miss but a really nice trick, I love all the accents from the drummer following the vocal and riff patterns in the part after four mins in, that melodic guitar starts to come out and shine up the riff after the five min mark, it really changes the track and the way they shift the tempo as the song is coming to a close, yet again, great songwriting, I love the way they closed that out!

10 out of 10

If you love your melodic death, do not miss out on these guys, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about them until today, that brought back memories of hearing At the Gates when I got my copy of Gardens of Grief (a long time ago), honestly, great songs, great playing, just go listen to these guys, outstanding!

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