It is difficult to discuss Holyarrow or at least partially be intrigued by Holyarrow without mentioning that the project is a Chinese one man outfit. Regional identity does play a part in initial impressions especially when the region is not know for its extreme metal exports. China has already been somewhat discussed with black metal with the very excellent Pest Productions and their varied discography. China has also been in discussion to identity when bands misrepresent themselves for ulterior motives. I believe we can be genuine in saying that Holyarrow is from China and plays black metal and if that is not the case, I going to quit writing metal articles and focus on Magic the Gathering content.
Oath of Allegiance is Holyarrows debut full length and from all impressions concerned with Chinese history to the backdrop and frenetic guitar driven black metal. Even removing the regional identity from Holyarrow, Oath of Allegiance is unique in the fact that it is not masked in varying levels of atmosphere. This record sounds like it is channeled with all of the energy and vitriolic emotions that could come from one person. This makes Oath of Allegiance a treat for people who enjoy bedroom productions and the raw aesthetic without the accompanying drop in production. If the outro to “Chapter III:Defenders of the Empire” does not stir some emotion in you, I fail to believe you possess a heart.
The only thing which somewhat confuses me about Oath Allegiance is whether or not it is tied to actual history. The song titles are somewhat misleading as the track list appears to be telling a cohesive story yet there is not, at least from my research, anything matching the dates. The Battle of Amoy, a skirmish between Chinese and British forces during the Opium Wars took place in 1841 not 1660. The fall of an empire (maybe referring to the fall of the Ming Dynasty) was in 1644 not 1645. I only bring this up because this distinction maybe important to the record as it could be based in a melange of historic fiction. Whatever the case, Holyarrow is certainly intriguing not on for its point of origin but its angle in which it approaches history. I certainly hope to find out more in the future.