On Rheia the flexible Oathbreaker blend shoegaze, black metal, and postpunk | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

On Rheia the flexible Oathbreaker blend shoegaze, black metal, and postpunk 

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click to enlarge Oathbreaker


Jeroen Mylle

Belgian quartet Oathbreaker have dribbled all over the metallic map in their three full-length albums, the most recent of which, Rheia, came out last fall on Deathwish. There’s something for everyone in their rapid-shifting mixture of shoegaze dreaminess, black-metal vitriol, and postpunk abstraction—which means that there’s sure to be something for everyone to dislike. But like Chicago weather, give it a few minutes and it’ll pass. This is a very versatile crew, and they have an uncanny ability to make albums hang together as a whole despite the eclectic nature of their tones and textures. Vocalist Caro Tanghe is a key factor in that—skilled in both clean vocals and decidedly unclean screaming, she’s excellent at the lull-then-crush method, perfectly executed every time thanks to her band’s flexibility. Rheia is largely plaintive and understated in its sound, making the heavy moments hit extra hard.   v


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