‘Eros|Anteros’, the second album from Belgium’s indescribably unique experimental death metal outfit, Oathbreaker, is one that’s gut wrenchingly heavy and a record that remorselessly batters your ear drums if you’ve got the sound turned up (which you most certainly should have). It’s a record with real bite, although the experimental side of the band may not work as well as you’d expect.
There’s a genuine frenetic energy to a song like ‘Upheaval’; the sharp edge of the guitars and the tornado smashing of the drums come at you at full pace and fail to let up. It’s an example of how a band can go into overdrive and make you wonder exactly how they carry out this sort of energy and enthusiasm on stage, because it’s so visceral on the record and works fantastically. The same goes for ‘As I Look Into The Abyss’, which steamrolls along taking no prisoners, sounding half death metal and half punk rock with its influences.
It’s when the band goes for the nine minute track, ‘The Abyss Looks Into Me’, that the flow of the record suffers and the impetus seeps out a little, because of the awfully long-winded nature of a song that length. It’s actually as solid as any of the other tracks while the pace is kept up, but when the band slow it down they lose much of what was keeping you excited previously. However, it’s great that they’ve actually wanted to do something interesting and change the tempo and not simply do a whole album of the same types of song, so that has to be applauded.
The screeching vocals are very dark. There’s quite a sinister tone throughout the record, not on the same level as Cannibal Corpse or anything like that, but there’s an underlying darkness on this album, from the strange artwork to the unrelenting nature of the vocals that claw away at the surface throughout. Overall, it’s a worthwhile listen because of that darkness. There’s almost hints of very early Underoath when there sounded something slightly satanic about their songs. What’s great here is that everything feels subtle in that sense, and that’s what makes it different to the usual death metal release.
Written by Greg Spencer