On Thursday February the 2nd, Ancienne Belgique in Brussels opened the doors of their small AB club for a sold out show of the booming post-black metal band Oathbreaker. This bands was born in 2008 but thanks to their third release Rheia that came out in September 2016, they’ve known an enormous boost in popularity. In our “albums of the year” list, Rheia found itself a spot in the top 25 of favourite albums from all our editorial team members. They recently played many shows in Belgium, the show at Vooruit was one of them and you can find the review here. In January they successfully toured in the UK with a great number of sold out shows and next month they’re heading to the states, needless to say we were looking forward to this show.
Twenty minutes after the scheduled starting time, we saw Partisan (**1/2) appearing on the stage. The somewhat strange choice in style of the support act seems odd at first sight, but the fact that drummer Ivo Debrabandere, is a former (and founding) member of Oathbreaker, explains everything. These men are clearly inspired by The Cure, the influences of old UK rock, up-tempo new wave and post punk predominate their music. The shortened set was held tight with a minimum of talking in between songs. The whole sounded very bass- and drum driven, while the guitar weaved gallantly in between this. In contrast to the next band in line, we heard a very bright and pure voice here. Unfortunately it was still pretty clear that this band couldn’t completely convince this crowd, the difference in style was too big for that.
Post black-metal with a twist to it, that’s what everyone showed up for this evening. It’s notable to say a lot of Amenra shirts were present in this venue. This is not very surprising as Oathbreaker (****1/2) is a part of Church of Ra, a collective of like-minded people, often performing live together, founded by Amenra.
The set took off with the obscure angelic voice, known for most of us as the very expressive video clip and opening song for Rheia. Singer Caro Tanghe attracts the listener with a fragile voice, then she unleashes massively with her sharp shrill screams. The change of pace that could make the show break through at one moment and fall to silence in the same abrupt way, was overwhelming. Also the contrast between Caro‘s clean voice and her screams is incredibly big.
During the whole show the sound was very good, we rarely saw a show where vocals, bass, drums and guitar were so well balanced. The live show gave a whole different dimension to the complexity of the music, still every musician was standing out trough the wall of sound just as much as on the album. The face of mrs. Tanghe remained hidden behind her long, brown, curly locks for as long as she was on stage. The visual aspect of the show blended in perfectly with the music; a lot of blue lights, many moving heads of hair and emotional back and-forth drifting. The joy radiated from the audience that was swaying around me with closed eyes. In the song Immortals, you could hear the beat of the drums mimicking the sound of a heartbeat, slowly weakening, resulting in one of the most intense moments of the show. Another special song was Stay Here / Accriche-Moi, it was played live for the first time and dedicated to their former drummer Ivo.
A good review should be a combination of positive and negative points of criticism. truth is, apart from the delay in starting time, nothing bad can be found about this intense show. If you ever get the chance to see this band live, take it with both hands. We can assure you; you WON’T regret it!