Date: January 24th, 2017
Venue: Whelans, Dublin
Line-up: Oathbreaker + Destriers
Belgium’s Oathbreaker have set the hardcore scene on fire since their formation in 2008 with their albums Mælstrøm and Eros|Anteros. However it’s their third album Rheia and their foray into the metal world which has made music lovers sit up and pay attention to the young band. Touring in support of their newest album has brought them far and wide including tonights show in Dublin, it’s their first time coming to our shores and they managed to attract a healthy crowd.
Opening the show tonight is a local band called Destriers who are a fairly new act on the scene and just released their debut EP Cynosure in December. Their songs were short, chaotic and experimental. They gave the air of a band who were still finding their footing in the live setting, there was little crowd interaction but the strong intensity and force of the music carried them on regardless. Their drummer was up front and centre, mainly due to the small stage size and setup, but he rightfully deserved to be there as he was phenomenal to say the least. He displayed a large amount of diversity in his playing to match the quirky guitar riffs. Their set was rather short, about twenty minutes or so but that was advantageous given their musical style.
When Oathbreaker took to the stage they were greeted with cheers and applause like any band would, however, when Caro Tanghe began to sing ’10:56’ suddenly the entire room when silent and simply listened to her sing. It was this respect for the performance which immediately made me think that I was witnessing something special tonight. However, as listeners of the bands album Rheia know this was just Caro falsely leading us into a sense of calm before the song transitions into ‘Second Son of R.’ and the band unleashed their new-founded black metal sound to barrage the ears of the crowd. Those quiet and sweet vocals had quickly been replaced by ear-shattering screams that sounded inhuman.
Much of the set was taken from their new album so the flow of the songs was fairly smooth. The music ebbs and flows through the hypnotic and melodic to the heavy and relentless with little effort. Caro had mentioned early on that she was a little sick but her performance showed no signs of slow-down as she frequently switched between her clean and screamed vocals, I found it amazing that she was still going after the insanity that is the outro of ‘Second Son of R.’. Moving along through ‘Immortals’, ‘Where I Live’ and other newer songs there is a strong focus on the clean vocals than their previous material, however, as her vocals are quite soft they were drowned out at times.
To close their set they broke away from the Rheia mould and played track from their hardcore releases ‘Glimpse of the Unseen’. This track saw a little more traditional movement from the crowd, more headbanging, etc. but it didn’t feel as out of place as you’d think. My only complaint for the night would be the short length of their set, playing for about an hour, the atmosphere and performance was so engrossing they could have played for another hour and no one would have complained. I can let this slide given the strength of their performance; I wouldn’t hesitate to call this one of the standout shows so far this year.