OATHEAN – Fading Away Into the Grave of Nothingness

Eleven years after their inception, South Korea’s OATHEAN make their North American debut with their third full-length, Fading Away Into the Grave of Nothingness. The band plays a style of melodic black metal that harkens back to early/mid-90’s Scandinavian black/death bands such as DISSECTION, OLD MAN’S CHILD, and NAGLFAR. There’s nothing too unfamiliar or overly complex here as the action is very straight forward. The first three songs attack with aggression and plenty of energy. Strong riffs, blazing tempos, and some very strong guitar melodies highlight these tracks. Unfortunately, as the album progresses further and further, the action becomes monotonous as the songs start to bleed into one another. The blast beats, the 16th note riffs, and tortured vocals all start to become one long affair. If the material was only stronger, they’d be able to get away with it like a band like DARK FUNERAL does. The album’s last studio cut, “Road To…,” is a great instrumental song of traditional Korean music that brings a peaceful calm and sense of resolution to the album’s predominantly violent and aggressive tone. Unlike their (brilliant) debut album, The Tremendous Eyes of Sorrow, the traditional Korean musical elements play a minor role and only appear on the last two album cuts. Overall, Fading Away… is better than many higher profile bands playing a similar style and has strong qualities to offer. But it’s going to take a stronger album to really break out into the minds of North American audiences. (The End Records)

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