Eternal Oath - _Righteous_
(Greater Art Records, 2002)
by: Vincent Eldefors (7.5 out of 10)
Eternal Oath are one of the veteran bands on the Swedish metal scene and they have been around for more than ten years now. They have not been very productive during their long career, though, partly because of band members being active in other projects outside the band. Formed in 1991, a demo in 1993, a mini album in 1996, a full-length in 1999 and another one now in the year 2002. I actually thought the band had broken up until their new album landed in my mailbox one day... Still, this is not of much importance to you and me who first and foremost just want to enjoy the music, but I guess it must affect both the band members and the label. Label problems is another thing that has been haunting Eternal Oath throughout the years, and their previous album _Through the Eyes of Hatred_ was released on the Singapore-based label Pulverised Records, who closed their doors one or two years ago. The new album _Righteous_ continues pretty much where the band left off in 1999, but the newer material is more solid and it feels as if the band is more comfortable with their own music this time. Eternal Oath do of course play melodic death metal, but they are still just a copy of bands like Dark Tranquillity or In Flames. The vocal approach of Joni Maensivu, one of the three founding members who are still in the band, is more brutal than what we are used to hearing from bands in this genre and the overall sound is also a little rougher and less polished. The vocals actually sound very much like Aaron Stainthorpe in the early days of My Dying Bride's career. My Dying Bride is one of my favorite bands, but Eternal Oath hasn't quite reached their level yet in my critical eyes. There are also some well performed female vocals on two of the tracks and, believe it or not, male clean vocals, but most of the vocals are growled as usual. Recommended if you are a fan of melodic death metal who would like to hear something that doesn't end with Tranquillity or Flames. In any case, you must listen to the title track of this album, because that particular song is absolutely beautiful. Other noteworthy tracks are "Preserve the Emotions" and "Crown of Emptiness".


(article published 1/9/2002)

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