Once more I got an incomplete promo, hand written Cdr with color xeroxed cover, but this time it annoys me a bit since this band is from Lebanon, and the lyrics according the their homepage, were written about the politic and social problems of that country, They might have been an interesting read for once. Whatever. The cover art here looks real neat, it’s made of pictures retouched and combined to create a vaguely McKean-esque effect. Hands with knifes protruding from a head, all covered with scratches and thick exressionist brushstrokes. The result is really cool, especially the use of reddish colors to create the idea of a vibrant insanity. Cheerio to Mike Bohatch for this work, I just hope he was aware of the way this logo and title were placed on his work. An artist would probably have gone for something less invasive. Whatever. I think the main issue with the genre this band plays is that tigthness and density is completely fundamental. Now that’s exactly my problem with this “Applied Schizophrenic Science”; first off the album suffers from a indistinct production, it lacks some cohesion becouse the vocals are really too high and the drums tend to fall behind, so basically you lose some of the combined force this might have had. Second, the high vocals have no big punch, not completely flat like Anatomy, but not aggressive enough to match the brutal guitar sound. And third: the arrangements themselves are not that compact, I know this seems to be one of the genres Americans have an extra token for, but some bands like Severe Torture here in Europe and neighbouring countries have succeeded in creating a personal style while laying on the American tested framework. Other than that, this Oath to Vanquish is fundamentally a Death Metal band with very deep vocals alternating with very high ones, vaguely dissonant slow bridges, some touches of loose, fast melodies and a decent personal sound. Neither the power chords nor the loose progressions have a real priority here and the band shifts often between different approaches, which either gives variety to the songs but also deprives it of some identity. All in all I am at the third listen of this Cd and yet I cannot decide if I like it or not. What’s sure I’d like to slide out the high vocals from the mix before saying anything more. I think we were not completely ready for a full album here, it’s just a bit undecided, neither brutal nor experimental (and definitely not grind, what’s the idea of grindcore for these people writing reviews?). I’ll maybe give it another try in a few months.