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Oath of Cruelty – Summary Execution at Dawn Award winner

Oath of Cruelty
Summary Execution at Dawn
by Liam Easley at 07 January 2020, 3:49 PM

Old school Death/Thrash Metal is a genre that is widely revisited but is often poorly executed. Enter the debut full-length from Texas’ OATH OF CRUELTY, “Summary Execution at Dawn,” a record full of tasty, Thrashy riffs intertwined with slightly Blackened solos wrapped up in a solidified and beefy production.

Pounding Hooves of Shrapnel” kicks the record off with a fierce Thrash attack with leads reminiscent of early-2000s DESTRÖYER 666. The track is a preview of what’s to come: fortified song structures and unbelievably fast Thrash riffing.

Stabbing Forth with Invincible Damnation” gives way to more, exciting riffs that boil down to a heavy and climactic Thrash break. The solo at the end is a highlight of the album, and it is very memorable for its emotion. The track is a great representation of songwriting in a genre so saturated with similar ideas, as it plays out until the end with enough moving parts to keep it interesting.

Songwriting is one of this band’s strongest outfits. “Into the Chamber of Death” creates a whole new world of Thrash riffing for this release, but just riffs can get old after a while. The song reaches a fierce guitar solo that is followed by a strong riff break. This delves into another solo that is more melodic and memorable. With so many different dimensions to the song, it is one of the finer examples of this band’s ability to write a song.

There are plenty of artists that play the same breed of Death/Thrash Metal, but this record is different for a couple of reasons. First, it is not through originality that this band shines as much as it is through pure speed and execution. Each track has a blur and flurry of riffs that seem so fast that it isn’t far off to say that they are the ARCHSPIRE of the genre (based on speed, not technicality). This is especially seen on the title track, as some of the riffs sound inhumanly fast.

Second, the album is polished with clean production. There is grit and there is raw energy, but the riffs are played at such high speeds that it is understandable that very fine production is needed. The production on display gives the album a pounding, heavy edge that makes the riffs punch instead of bite.

Oath of Cruelty has released an album of the highest caliber. There is a strong production, riffs that deliver throughout the entire runtime of the record and there is an old school sound that has rarely been seen since HYPNOSIA released “Extreme Hatred” in 2000. There were some killer Death/Thrash Metal releases in 2019, but “Summary Execution at Dawn” reigns supreme.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Pounding Hooves of Shrapnel
2. Stabbing Forth with Invincible Damnation
3. Through Alchemy and Killing
4. Pathogenic Winds of Swarm
5. Into the Chamber of Death
6. At the Tyrant’s Behest
7. Victory Rites of Exsanguination
8. Denied Birth (Merciless cover)
9. Summary Execution at Dawn
Dave Callier – Guitars & Vocals
Matt Heffner – Drums
Danny “Archfiend” Hiller – Guitars
Record Label: Dark Descent Records


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Edited 29 May 2020

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