Oath Of Cruelty – Summary Execution At Dawn Review

Formed in 2010, it’s taken nine years for Houston’s Oath Of Cruelty to muster up their first full-length — it’s been a full five years since their last and only non-demo release, the two-song Hellish Decimation EP — but the good news is that Summary Execution At Dawn was worth the wait.

Release date: December 9, 2019. Label: Dark Descent.
Comprised of members of Blaspherian, PLF, Adumus, and others, Oath Of Cruelty is a well-crafted throwback to the golden days when thrash metal pushed into death metal, the end result falling somewhere between Pleasure To Kill pummeling and early Floridian ferocity. This type of rollicking death / thrash relies on two primary factors: razor-edged riffs and amphetamine-level aggression, and thankfully, Summary Execution possesses more than enough of both. Drummer Matt “Matt Mayhem” Heffner pushes the whole thing forward with merciless drive — Summary Execution is nothing if not energetic. Guitarist / vocalist Dave “Dave Of Death” Callier and second guitarist Danny “D. Killer” Hiller rip through catchy and fiery riff after catchy and fiery riff, walking perfectly the line between the chaotic and the controlled. Witness the spate of killer riffing throughout the epic-tinged “At The Tyrant’s Behest,” furious and yet hooky as hell, the ending underpinned with some subtle atmospheric touches. Or the relentless rage of the album closing title track, or… well, really any of this…

And therein lies the only criticism I could make of Summary Execution: It sounds very similar across its thirty-three minutes, and the moments that stand out the most are those like “Tyrant’s Behest” that add little bits of flair to the proceedings. Listen casually, and this type of thing can easily blur together into a wall of speed and growling, which is admittedly fun enough on its own. Take a step back and listen more carefully, however, and Summary Execution’s nine tracks will open themselves up to reveal a trove of strong hooks and that wonderfully raucous — and undeniably endearing — thrashing spirit.

No, Oath Of Cruelty’s game is not an original concept — it’s a well (ahem) executed homage to glorious days of Kreator and Sodom and early Morbid Angel and early Sepultura and all the other death / thrash-ing greats. Still, we shouldn’t overthink this. Crack open a cold one, grab your denim vest, strap on your spiked armbands, and bang your damn head…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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