“Blood Oath” is the first release from this Belgian duo and features four ten-ish minute long tracks surrounding a brief instrumental track. The band name apparently comes from folklore surrounding the hands of murderers which were chopped off for purposes of punishment. The music on this offering is every bit as dark as the band name suggests. Flying under my radar, and as far as I can tell, everyone else’s radar as well, “Blood Oath” was a welcome surprise when I finally found the time to listen.
Life being what it is, it’s now some weeks later, and I’m finally finding the time to write about it. Stylistically, the music is haunting and dark. The riffing, pacing, drumming, vocal style, etc. all place this band squarely in the category Doom Metal stylistically. Topically and atmospherically, they have much in common with Black Metal. For 39 minutes, Rituals of the Dead Hand slow roast you over the white hot embers of their personal fire. The music is both visceral and engaging. Some bands rely on speed to keep you engaged. This duo has no such need, as the strength of their songwriting refuses to let you go. “Blood Oath” should be listened to as an entire composition. Carve 39:26 out of your life, and let the darkness in. (Hayduke X)