The blend of stoner and doom is hard to get right, even more so when bands task themselves with (or come by it naturally, which is best) tossing some traditional heavy metal into the cauldron to kick the concoction up a few notches. Boston’s OXBLOOD FORGE is one of those, and Cult Of Oblivion follows its first full-length showing, Decimator of 2021.
Instantly I’m not fond of Ken MacKay’s vocal approach, but I’m equally unsure if it’s due to my setting expectations prior to listening, or if his shout/bellow/screech delivery would be truly better suited to a more aggressive style. The band seems to have precious little in the way of “stoner”, which is actually a plus when it comes to these ears, and there it is. There. It. Motherfucking. Is. Where the title track fell short in all points, ‘Upon The Altar’ reclaims lost territory, even advancing, as MacKay is revealed to be a screamer of the Steve Grimmett / Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza school, and the band follows suit, bits of BIBLE OF THE DEVIL, a smattering of the monstrous VALKYRIE (VA) here and there, and what we have here is a banger, tried and true.
Slowing the tempo for ‘Cleanse With Fire’ doesn’t mean a loss of passion, thankfully, and the title holds true in this slow burner, the chorus fanning flicker to flame, the crunch-driven riff work makes me glad the quartet added a second guitarist, filling out the gaps of the debut. A beefier band, a heftier sound, a Quarter Pounder to the Double Cheeseburger of Decimator, one could say. Or maybe I’m just hungry.
‘Mask Of Satan’ is anthemic, built for the live show, catchy chorus, bridge for a bit of doom dancing, and the energy coming from the five-piece is palpable, almost taking corporeal form. Not sure if it’s better to enter into OXBLOOD FORGE with no preconceived notions, or if Cult Of Oblivion is made stronger by having proven mine baseless but, either way, at the end I’m glad I took the ride.
Review By: Lord Randall
Cult Of Oblivion [EP]