Returning from hiatus, perhaps only temporarily, post metal band Oathbreaker have released a brand new single called Ease Me.
Recorded as part of the Adult Swim series, Metal Swim 2, Ease Me is the first piece of new music from the Belgian band since their immensely popular 2016 release, Rheia. An album that you thought might see the band kick in and dominate but instead saw them go silent. You read our thoughts on that one here. Oathbreaker are Lennart Bossu on guitars with Gilles Demolder on bass and guitars. Vocals are with the powerful front woman Caro Tanghe while drums are with Wim Coppers. Coppers replaced original drummer Ivo Debrabandere after Rheia’s release in 2016.
Ease Me sees Oathbreaker continue their move away from the extreme metal side of their early releases, like their debut ErosAnteros. By the time Rheia had dropped they were already part way changed anyway. While musically still dark and viciously heavy, in parts both the music and vocals turned towards black gaze with melancholic, dream like passages. There were still plenty of moments for Caro to let loose but there was a lot more focus on her haunting cleans. To be fair, it was a good move for them, made clear by the success of Rheia.
Ease Me is a short song by Oathbreaker standards at just over 5 minutes. It starts oddly with a weird sampled effect before that drops to the background and allows the instruments to take over. Musically it is quite melodic with clean ringing guitars a meaty bass line and quicker drums. Vocals are clean all the way through. Carl’s haunting style is glorious sitting over a mid tempo drum beat as the guitars start ringing cleaner and louder. Oathbreaker have Always had this ability to transport the listener into another realm and that still holds true.
Ease Me does feel a bit like a light version of Oathbreaker though. It’s an interesting and intriguing song with beautifully morose vocals but the drums sound terrible. A weak and fuzzy mess underneath the rest of the music. I doubt production this poor was planned but it really doesn’t sound great. I’m not overly clean on the electronica sample at the beginning or in the verse separation. For the first song from the band in years, I was a bit surprised to hear them steer very clear of any extreme metal. No harsh vocals, no heavy guitars and while the drums do pick up pace occasionally, they are too far in the background to have much impact.
Ease Me isn’t a bad song at all despite those issues. It’s quite beautiful and sorrowful and Caro’s vocals are always a pleasure to hear. I guess I just got a little too excited to hear they were back with new music and raised my expectations a bit too high and Ease Me doesn’t meet them fully.
Still, great news to have Oathbreaker back releasing music and let’s hope it isn’t a one off. Check out Ease Me now on all the usual streaming platforms. Keep up to date with Oathbreaker at their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Ease Me by Oathbreaker
The Final Score - 6.5/10