Chilean mashers Blood Oath add melody and savagery into death with debut EP ‘The Line Between’

It’s the final week for album reviews on the site for calendar year 2017, and we have a nice, eclectic mix of stuff to get out there before we dive into year-end coverage. Today, we have a bit of new blood, a band putting out their first official release in the waning moments of the year while most people already have looked ahead to 2018.

Don’t turn the page yet until you dig into Chilean death band Blood Oath’s killer six-track EP “The Line Between,” a record that’s savage but also incredibly creative. This effort reeks of youthful exuberance, as the music is fast, hungry, and explosive. These songs were released earlier in the year, but we’re now getting this remastered take on CD via the mighty Unspeakable Axe, and it’s just a hint at what could be ahead for this band. This nearly 23-minute package leaves welts on your body, but it also gets your blood flowing and perhaps even thinking back to the formative days of death metal. Guitarists Ignacio Canales and Cristian Fuentes are heroes on this thing, pulling in some classic metal to their leads and soloing but also going into the cosmos. Vocalist Kevin Inostroza does a killer job shredding his vocal cords, while the rhythm section of bassist Matias Canales and drummer Benjamin Soto leave ample bruising that will make it hard to move around for a while.

“Lunacy” is a quick introductory track with acoustic guitars, strange ambiance, and echoing voices and laughter, as if someone is being tortured. Then we’re on to “Lobotomy” that has a sludgy, doomy start before it picks up and begins pounding hard. Harsh growls splatter you, while the lead guitars head into sci-fi territory and begin exploring the atmosphere. The play remains fluid, while the bass rumbles, and then we’re onto “Putrid Mind” where guitars spill open, and the pace is slower yet still ungodly heavy. As the song goes on, the war erupts, as the band visits thrashy terrain, the guitars gush fury, and the back end is filled with grisly growls and chilling echoes. “Morbid Lust” leans into chugging guitars and vicious vocals, and as the song goes on, wild howls and maniacal laughs enter the fray, bringing more madness. The song completely clobbers you, as cosmic strangeness unfolds, the soloing is charged up, and the track burns out. “Rise of Cruelty” gnaws at flesh and bone, while the vocals sting the ears, and the playing fires up. Animalistic growls, that lead into Inostroza belting the song’s title over and over, feel gross, as the guitars splatter and launch into the stars. Closer “Watch Them Die” explodes and pelts your flesh, as raw growls lead the way, and the guitars trudge in a vicious circle. The band pulls out some prog craziness, exposing their odd creativity once again, and then it’s back to the death pit as they rain down blows, staying vicious until the odd choice of “Full Metal Jacket’s” Gunnery Sergeant Hartman poking, “What’s your major malfunction, numb nuts?” drops you off with an unexpected dash of humor.

Blood Oath have the makings of a band that can become a major force in the ever-evolving death metal world, and “The Line Between” is a massive opening shot that should make people sit up and take notice. The punishment and melodies are there, the savagery hits you right in the mouth, and these songs are a blast to absorb. This is a smasher that’s been bubbling under the surface for a while and deserves to have the wider reach this effort deserves.

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