“When the band first started, and names were being considered, I felt that Oath of Cruelty had the right “texture” and connotations you know? Sadism, medieval violence, torture… It just fits.” Dave Callier just hit the nail on the head. Frantic, barbaric, yet sharp as a knife… Those are just some of the words most associated Houston’s Oath of Cruelty.
The band was initially formed in 2010 by Matt ‘Mayhem’ Heffner on drums, Dave Callier on guitar and Kyle Laven (R.I.P.) on lead guitar, and their first demo Altar of Impalement was recorded in 2012 with Robert Mena from local 80s thrash moguls Dark Reign on vocals. After few line-up changes (incl. the arrival of Imprecation’s Danny Hiller on guitar, and of Tony Rich from Houston’ss Necrotic Void, who had a 2-year stint in the band) plus a second demo and a two track EP, the core trio of Callier, Mayhem and Hiller have finally recorded their first proper full-length and sealed a pact (in blood) with Dark Descent Records to release it.
Dave describes Summary Execution at Dawn as a “culmination of spastic, frenetic riffs and urgent blasting energy, punctuated by sadistic, harsh lyrics delivered via barbarous, grating vocals.” Their songs are about sadism, medieval scenes of violence and carnage, the senseless nature of war, the Black Plague, idiot religions, and the industrialization of war and weaponry. No wonder then that they’ve covered Merciless classic from their The Awakening album ‘Denied Birth’ and that most of their influences seem to come not only from the 80’s but from the then bleak industrial-like German birth place of Sodom and Kreator. “With the exception of Slayer, I always felt like 80’s German thrash metal was much more deathly and abrasive, which speaks more to us. Pleasure to Kill, Riders of Doom – there aren’t many US bands that have records worth comparing to these! I have to confess though that it’s important not to understate the effect Repulsion has always had on me… Most of their really classic songs are just thrash metal riffs played at 45 RPM. Total death!”
All three musicians – Spencer from Blaspherian joined them on bass after the recording – may have roots in grindcore (PLF), war metal (Morbosidad) and evil death metal (Blaspherian) yet Summary Execution at Dawn lives in its own time frame. With some songs harking back as far as 2010 and a recording slowly chipped away at since 2015, the result is 34 minutes of death/thrash executed at rabid speed, set in medieval times when “life was cheap” and tyrants and cruel wizards ruled the earth. In the sign of evil indeed!