Composed of members from Ash Borer and Urzeit, Portland, Oregon's Triumvir Foul has emerged from the depths. It's unclear when this two man project of guitarist/vocalist Ad Infinitum and drummer Cedentibus first came together, but in April of 2014 they issued a four song EP titled An Oath of Blood and Fire themselves in both digital and limited to one hundred cassette formats. Since then, the release has been picked up by Godz of War Productions for a seven-inch vinyl pressing, which is also being distributed by Third Eye Temple. With another chance to own a physical version of this recording upon us, does it stand as one well worth picking up, or is it best left to obscurity?

With the legacy both members bring to the table, it's hard to imagine An Oath of Blood and Fire anything but a raw or raw-ish recording. Immediately the duo deliver with an analog approach that doesn't quite fall into the world of "cavernous" Death Metal along the likes of Blaspherian or early Incantation, but the loud buzz of the guitars and bass, coupled with slightly distant drums and further vocals, all make the comparisons close enough without sounding too hollow. It does, however, allow the material to have more of an eccentric side at times, which is exerted early on.

"The Vacuum of Knots" kicks things off with a strong Swedish Death Metal influence that the loud, vile distortions perfectly fit into. Strong hints of Doom Metal can be found in some of the slower material, such as the guitar solo and when approaching the one minute mark as sanity begins to fade to awkward chords and chaotic attacks from the drum kit. This bleeds into "Abhorrent Depths", a far more sinister track of creeping Death and Doom Metal at its coldest, and most merciless. After about a minute, the pace picks up, pulling the deep pulse of the bass guitar forward thanks to complex chords that wind up buried a bit underneath them. What was a sudden spurt of madness nicely progresses into infectious grooves that only continue to assert their dominance over you as the music itself grows tighter by the end.

While side a's two tracks are linked together, side b isn't quite as lucky. In fact, it's almost a complete departure from the established direction! "Silence Continuum" carries itself as a mixture of Death Metal and Grindcore similar to the likes of Exhumed, but far more hushed overall. Even the guitars themselves sound thinner and distant, taking away some of the bite when handled faster, causing them to be hidden behind the bass and drums. The only memorable part, sadly, is the psychedelic angle during the solo towards the end. Even the cover of Autopsy's "Embalmed" isn't that great. While it suffers from many of the same problems, this one ends pretty bass heavy, making up for the deeper distortions that don't have that much enthusiasm behind them outside the solo, leaving much of this track to hit as though the band were going through the motions just to show one of the influences to the direction of this two-piece.

The biggest issue behind An Oath of Blood and Fire is the variety on display, and how the raw audio can't support the more standard material later on. Side a features two stunningly bleak and bludgeoning performances linked together into one extended performance that just slips by the eight minute mark, whereas side b sounds ripped from the early nineties of the Relapse Records Goregrind catalogue with the token cover track thrown in because what demo is complete without one, right? But, really, it's great to see this demo get picked up for a proper vinyl release to accompany the initial cassette pressing, not to mention just making it a little more accessible to those who don't want to shell out the money for a digital Bandcamp download. If you're a fan of Death Metal and either missed out before or happen to get the chance to pick up the first pressing, An Oath of Blood and Fire will leave you keeping an eye on Triumvir Foul to see what develops in the years to come.

Review originally composed for Apoch's Metal Review.