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Viking's Choice: Swear To The Oath, Faithful Servant

The Oath.
Joe Dilworth
Courtesy of the artist
The Oath.

When you name your band after a Mercyful Fate song, you'd better damn well live up to it, especially when that song swears "henceforth to be a faithful servant of his most puissant arch-angel, The Prince Lucifer." Thankfully, The Oath sounds something like the two bad-ass women in Heart raised on a healthy dose of King Diamond. So embrace the darkness and listen to "Silk Road."

The Oath was formed after guitarist Linnea Olson left Stockholm to find new musical challenges in Berlin, where she discovered vocalist Johanna Sadonis. Last year's "Night Child" b/w "Black Rainbow" 7" was a riff-packed hard-rock stunner that owed as much to the haunting melodies of Mercyful Fate as it did to the biker-speed chug of Motorhead. Both tracks re-appear on the band's self-titled debut, an album that finds commonality with doomy, occult metal bands like In Solitude and Ghost B.C.

But "Silk Road" stands apart for a number of reasons: Sadonis' soulful vocals have this wild ascending/descending quality; every time it sounds like she's lost control of a pitch bend, she snaps it back into place like a dislocated shoulder. Olson achieves the same effect on the guitar by reversing the octaves in the second part of the verses only to — again — snap everything into focus with a single-note riff laid at the feet of Tommy Iommi. Backed by a solid rhythm section made of Kadavar and Angel Witch members, "Silk Road" is a bluesy squall that teeters on the brink of insanity.

The Oath comes out April 15 on Rise Above Records.

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