Never hurts to make a good first impression and UK band Oaths certainly have that intent nailed with debut EP Stag Party. A busy and furious storm of hardcore and melodic rock, the five track fury is an imaginative entrance by the Manchester quintet. Arguably it is too imposing and tempestuous on first listen to really appreciate the rich potential and creative tenacity within its walls, but proper attention soon reveals band and release to be an exciting and compelling proposition.
Consisting of vocalist Topher, guitarists Curtis and Michaela (the latter also providing vocals), bassist Jack, and drummer Chris, Oaths emerged in 2013 with inspirations from the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Glassjaw, Every Time I Die, and Norma Jean in their creative arsenal. Last year saw the band hitting the road around the country, earning a potent reputation for their live presence and a success continuing into 2015 with the band recently completing a tour with Faces of Eve. Produced by Mike Bennett from Empires Fade, Stag Party is the band’s new mighty nudge on national awareness, a release which goes for the jugular from its first breath and tugs away on the senses and a keen appetite from thereon in.
Things instantly boil up with opener Lover Another, though its initial touch is abrasing if relatively calm. The raw hardcore bred vocals add a swift aggravation to the brewing atmosphere as do the similarly imposing beats which punctuate the impending intensity. It is a rising tempest though which relaxes just a little as a melodic enticing from the guitars adds to the harsher riffs and rhythms, and similarly a more melodic vocal delivery joins the caustic roars. Passion and angst is soon raging again amongst the fresh progressive and variety filed textures of the song, everything from rhythms to sonic endeavour evolving in imagination and fascination.
The strong start is matched by Idols / Rivals, a track fuelled by punk aggression and melodic adventure which ebbs and flows in aural intensity on the beaches of the senses. As in its predecessor, there is a great unpredictability to the offering which brings intrigue and exciting twists to a more familiar yet no less captivating hardcore seeded canvas. Every move from raw aggression and hostile atmospheres to harmonic elegance and melodic beauty is seamless musically and vocally whilst combined it finds has a clarity wrapped place for every aspect in the impressing proposal.
Hank Moody continues in similar style, an almost beauty and the beast collision of textures uniting for a dramatic and riveting incitement. The song does not quite grip as tightly as those before it for an undefined reason though the fact it does not seem to have the constant distinctiveness of those before might be one factor. Nevertheless everything about the song is in firm hold of ears and attention, the driving rhythms magnetic and the guitar enterprise at times simply bewitching, whilst vocally, and especially on the cleaner side of things, it is potent and enjoyable theatre as the contrasting tones share the lyrical and impassioned heart of the song.
As good as Stag Party is already, it hits personal tastes perfectly across its final two songs, turning into a raucously contagious slice of rock ‘n’ roll at the same time. Amsterdam comes first and though it is still a hardcore and progressive/melodic rock eruption the song discovers a contagious virulence and creative exploration which emerges as more gripping hooks, spicier grooves, and rhythmic imagination. At times bestial and in other moments a fiery seduction, the song is superb and swiftly matched if not surpassed by the closing I Am The Danger.
The band’s current single, the track is instantly addictive and ruggedly infectious, bounding in on intimidating rhythms and an enthralling sonic escapade. Riffs from the guitars and bass snarl, whilst their individual hooks are venomously poppy; traits explosively aligning to the increasingly impressing vocals which burst from across the band. Within a thumping cage of fierce beats, the track is exceptional and with the previous song alone, ignites a real appetite for Oaths and their increasingly thrilling sound.
Stag Party is a release to take your time with; first impressions are good but only get better. It also sparks an expectation to see Oaths grow into a strong and potent force within the hardcore scene, not only at home but further afield. If not they have certainly unleashed one intensely enjoyable debut anyway.
Stag Party is available from April 13th through all platforms.
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