Wednesday, 25 April 2012

CEREMONIAL OATH - The Book Of Truth (1993)

01  Sworn To Avenge (Intro)
02  The Invocator
03  For I Have Sinned - The Praise
04  Enthroned
05  Only Evil Prevails
06  Thunderworld
07  Lords Of Twilight
08  Ceremonial Oath
09  The Lost Name Of God
10  The Book Of Truth
11  Hellbound

Ceremonial Oath were a Swedish extreme metal band who formed in 1988 under the name "Desecrator", then changed their name to Ceremonial Oath in 1990 before disbanding in 1995. During their short career they released three demos, one EP and two full-length albums. Their influence is greater than their short lifespan suggests, as several of the band members would later join metal bands that would gain fame and fortune on the future metal scene, such as; In Flames and Tiamat who are influential in the melodic death metal genre and Hammerfall, a band who would greatly influence the renewed interest in power metal. 'The Book Of Truth' is the debut studio album by Ceremonial Oath. The album was released in 1993 through Modern Primitive Records. The line-up for this relase consisted of; Oscar Dronjak (vocals & guitar), Anders Iwers (guitar), Jesper Stromblad (Bass) and Markus Nordsberg (drums).

The guitar riffs are a mixture of the traditional chunky Swedish style and some faster thrashy ones along the lines of Slayer, are all top notch and very easy to get into. I particularly found the solo work on opening track "The Invocator" extremely impressive. The bass tone is punchy, the faster parts are a bit reminiscent of punk, thrashy when it locks in with the guitar, and mostly reserved in a supporting role as bass often is in extreme metal. There are some keyboard parts throughout and other elements that work to build a dark, atmospheric sound at points, and while I applaud the attempt, the production is lackluster and dimunitive. Some of the lyrics come across as slightly cheesy and song structures tend to wander and become chaotic, but they're more or less typical of the style and of the time.

'The Book Of Truth' has little in common with albums from In Flames and Dark Tranquillity that were released around the same time. From the muddy production to the crunchy guitars and the ugly vocals of Oscar Dronjak, there are many aspects of this album that are highly appreciable. Unfortunately, it seems as though the "Gothenburg" craze of the mid nineties was just about to kick in full force after this album was released, therefore leaving little desire on part of the band members to record anything after the dreadful follw-up album 'Carpet' which arrived in 1995. Stand-outs include; "Only Evil Prevails", "Lords of Twilight" (which features excellent drumming), and "The Lost Name of God". It may be a difficult record to track down, but it's worth hearing.

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