Published Dec 06, 2019Genre fusion is nothing new, but every once in a while, there are bands that set a new standard, giving new vitality to the styles at play. Oath of Cruelty have somehow discovered the riddle of steel, managing to forge the arguably done-to-death formats of thrash and death metal into the unified, doubly lethal weapon Summary Execution at Dawn.
From the first seconds of "Pounding Hooves of Shrapnel," the thrash sensibility is worn with intense pride, emulating the likes of classic Slayer and Sodom, both in the production and almost immediate onset of crazed soloing, but with an added necrosis of death metal, primarily in the percussion. The more traditional thrash skank beat is intercut with salvos of blast beats more typical of Morbid Angel or Cannibal Corpse in "Stabbing Forth With Invincible Damnation."
Summary Execution at Dawn avoids becoming a genre pendulum, though. Instead, Oath of Cruelty display a masterful integration of the two, becoming largely seamless. "Through Alchemy and Killing" contains echoes of Metallica's "Four Horsemen" only as much as it does Cannibal Corpse's "Meat Hook Sodomy." "Denied Birth (Merciless)" betrays the influence of Bolt Thrower in its charging double-bass attack.
But despite the plethora of references and comparisons, Oath of Cruelty only ever emulate just enough, without losing their own agency. The band have a furiously tight grip over every track on the album, each of which neither feels repetitive or out of place. Summary Execution at Dawn manages a near perfect balance throughout.
Oath of Cruelty have, in one fell swoop, invigorated the modern thrash and death metal styles with a release that does both ample credit. (Dark Descent)