Life has a funny of way of connecting the dots. Random moments that lead one into almost predestined situations. Such was my chance encounter with these animals from Australia. While soaking my liver in a much-needed late night session at my local watering hole, I stumbled onto the masterminds behind Oligarch. After a brief conversation, I led them into the dank pit that I call my second home and proceeded to discuss a number of different topics. None of which involved them being on tour in the states or what they sounded like. Handshakes were made, pints were destroyed and friendships were forged over the course of the night.
So imagine my surprise when I finally pulled myself together and checked this project out and discovered that, fuck – they’re really, really good. With a sound that is best described as a mix between Blackened Death Metal meets the too early put-to-grave-grind masters Rune and a bit of Crust for good measure. Hypocrisy Oath showcases a band that appreciates savagery with a no-nonsense approach to their music. Absent are the typical five minute long voyages into fret-board acrobatics. Or long, drawn out think pieces that modern Black Metal has morphed into. And while there is definitely a showmanship and mastery behind what they do: the plain and simple fact is that Oligarch are just about as raw and nasty as they come.
“Suicide by Immolation” cracks the skull of this demo open in a way that leaves one eager to dig their fingers into Oligarch’s exposed brain. No soft, melodic introductions or audio samples to set the tone. Oligarch simply burst out of the basement where they were chained and want vengeance against a world that has wronged them. What’s also apparent from the get go is that Oligarch aren’t one to beat around the bush with their assault. A prevailing trend within extreme music – even those that dwell within the shadow lands of mainstream metal- is to incorporate a swathe of different styles in an orgy of sound. An attempt to show how versatile or well rounded they are. Which works great for some projects.
But a band like Oligarch, one rooted in the base sound of hate and scorn, prove that there is no reason to meander over the sonic highways. Their servitude and obedience to their collective, venomous vision is apparent. Perhaps none more so than on the title track of this release. Between the discordant riffs and violent blast beats that permeate the song, there is an underlying sense of despair and hopelessness. It’s rare that a band such as Oligarch can cast such a wide net and capture nuanced emotions outside of being “Brutal Death Metal.” But this Melbourne- based trio have done such, and in a way that makes it a grim pleasure to sink your teeth into the flesh of this release.
The entire demo lasts a blistering eighteen minutes. But the journey had while exploring their graveyard is one that is easily digested and re-playable. Even the third track, “Slaves to Imperium” – which serves as the album’s longest player at four minutes – blows by. Up until this point, Oligarch were happy to keep the beating they inflict at a rapid-fire pace, which makes this track such a diabolical whirlwind of broken glass and razor blades. It showcases the band’s ability to not only be able to craft a heretical song, but an actual living, breathing piece. Granted, it’s one of fetid breath. From the standpoint of this being their first release, it exudes a monstrous glimpse of potential for future endeavors within their dark arts.
I’ll be the first to admit to my guilty pleasures. The fact is that my tastes are perhaps a little less underground when it comes to our subculture’s battle anthems. But digesting this beast and having the time to put words to digital paper had me wistfully recalling the feeling that washed over me in younger years, when I would scour zines and label catalogs for the harshest sounding music. In an age where elitism and fractured scenes fight among each other about who is more “TRVE,” bands like Oligarch keep marching forward. They blatantly disregard the prevailing trends in order to keep doing what they love. And in this case, what they love is melting faces. So it goes without saying that I’m looking forward with a cannibalistic hunger to hearing what these Aussie fiends can conjure up following this declaration. By all means, check this band out and lend your support to their apocalyptic crusade.