You might remember the adage that you know you’re getting old when policemen look younger than you. Scratch that. You know you’re really really old when talent as young and as good as progressive metal upstarts Bleeding Oath turn up to show you a thing or twenty about how to play stirring, inventive and entirely brilliant heavy metal music.
Bleeding Oath were scheduled in that strange no man’s land of the late afternoon, when the effects of the beer haven’t quite kicked in and thoughts turn to food, usually of the fast variety. It was something of a risk putting on a band this heavy, this early, but any pre-gig jitters about the scheduling wisdom were blown away- as were we- by the ferocious opening song “Oceans”. Within the first two bars, there was a rush to the front of the stage as the band’s most ardent fans got down to some serious afternoon headbanging. Bleeding Oath play a brilliant mix of prog, death, tune filled heavy metal.
Bleeding Oath play a spectacular blend of Opeth inspired prog/death metal (their tongue in cheek Fuck Off Bleeding Oath marketing campaign is supposedly inspired by some charming invective from Opeth’s Michael Akerfeldt) but there is also a good dose of Cynic, Mastodon (whose Blood and Thunder they do a- ahem- thunderous cover version of) and, more intriguingly, there is a jazz and pop influence at work here too. Oceans gives way to Mountains which is as big and ambitious as you’d hope and your scribe is just rivetted watching the band go through their paces. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of styles but writ through with a pile of invention and creativity. Watching the band is a delight- they are all clearly very gifted musicians individually and collectively, they make a hell of a racket.
Instrumental track Something seems out of place in the schedule- not in terms of quality but in terms of pacing- but there’s nothing wrong at all with the closing track What Fortune Gives which isn’t just a hint of the bands potential, it’s a goddamn wrecking ball. Its all over far too quickly and the band, true to their word, “fuck off”. Brilliant, just brilliant.