Boneyard: ‘Oathbreaker’

Released on October 24, 2020 (Boneyard)

You may wonder how many relatively unknown bands make their way onto the Sleaze Roxx website. Most of the time, it starts with the bands reaching out to Sleaze Roxx (usually via e-mail) themselves with a song or two to be checked out. I must confess that the auditioning time can range from a few seconds for music that clearly does not fit Sleaze Roxx‘s musical scope to a full song for particularly cool bands. Boneyard┬ádefinitely fall into the latter category as one listen to their single “Fates Warning” got them “coverage” on Sleaze Roxx and a paying customer since I ended up purchasing their CD Oathbreaker on the strength of that one song. The cover for Oathbreaker was very cool as well and a definite clincher for my purchase. I had been planning on reviewing Boneyard‘s debut album Oathbreaker for some time but never got around to it but it’s crunch time now so it just needs to be done.

Boneyard‘s first single “Fates Warning” provided an intriguing combination of Iron Maiden like guitar melodies (I am thinking Somewhere In Time / Seventh Son of A Seventh Son era) with a female singer who is literally singing along in an almost soothing like voice while taking each song in a different direction. At first, the album Oathbreaker was simply enjoyable to listen to but the more that I listened to it, the more I got into it. Certain tracks really started popping out including the haunting and mesmerizing “Oathbreaker”, the riff based “Gone”, the melody laden “Monster” and the peppy yet groove oriented “Born Again.” Female lead vocalist Pamtera just doesn’t possess the type of voice that I would expect for a heavy metal band but that is what sets Boneyard apart from so many other female fronted heavy metal bands. While most of the time Pamtera just sings in a very melodic manner, she can also ramp it up a notch such as on “Tune Attack” where her singing speeds up quite a bit.

There really aren’t any weak tracks on Boneyard‘s debut album Oathbreaker and each time that I listen to it, I discover something new because when Pamtera isn’t singing, the guitar work and melodies are really well crafted and quite intriguing by themselves. When I initially saw the band’s photo on the back of the CD booklet, I assumed that it was a traditional singer / guitarist / bassist / drummer line-up. However, when listening to Oathbreaker, it was obvious that there were some great dual guitar melodies throughout the album. It’s only upon writing this review that I realized that three of the band members contribute some guitar work on the album with Pamtera, Dennis Cooke and Grant Tarapacki all involved in that regard.

As much as I like Oathbreaker, I think that Boneyard can do even better since they have so much potential with their quality musicianship, songwriting and amazing singer. Accordingly, I am really looking forward to seeing what Boneyard come up with on their sophomore record. The only real downfall is that Oathbreaker was only released about two months ago so I might have to wait a long time for Boneyard‘s follow up album.

Track List:
01. Fates Warning
02. Gone
03. Evil Ways
04. Smoke The Sky
05. Oathbreaker
06. Rat Race
07. Monster
08. Born Again
09. Hope
10. Tune Attack
11. Catch Me If You Can

Band Members:
Pamtera – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar
Dennis Cooke – bass, rhythm guitar
Jeff Cunningham – drums, percussion
Grant Tarapacki – lead guitar

Produced by Boneyard and Cam MacLeod
Engineered, mixed and edited by Cam MacLeod
Mastered by Maor Applebaum

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, December 2020

Boneyard‘s “Fates Warning” lyric video: