Sunday, September 20, 2015

new album! Black Breath (Washington state)

Black Breath: Slaves Beyond Death (Southern Lord Recordings)
In my opinion, Black Breath has broken away from the overcrowded field of death metal in a major way and has delivered a top quality album that picky listeners should consider if said public is searching for bands that have something special to offer. I think it is good that they are pushing themselves to higher standards. They are demonstrating that they have the songs, the knowledge, the skills, the confidence and the quality to stand out amongst death metal bands.
Black Breath formed in 2006 and this 2015 album is their third. The music is a bit reminiscent of Stockholm-style old death metal of the late 80s/early 90s. The drumming is direct, steady and decidedly the opposite of tech-death drumming. The guitar tone, naturally, is similar to the classic/famous Sunlight Studio death metal sound, and the band utilizes a sense of well-timed melodies and catchy parts. The vocals are expressive, almost intelligible, not monotonous growling, not microphone cupping nor one-tone low growling.
To me, the most impressive aspect of the album is that the band has melody, catchy riffs and songs that connect with the listener that wants to remember the songs. If anything, the band is still a bit too shy to show off how good they really are because they save some of the best material for last. The last song “Chains of the Afterlife” is an instrumental piece and the band really shines on this number, unafraid to bring out the melodies.
The important thing is that they have asked themselves how to make memorable songs, how to make them interesting to themselves as musicians. The band is becoming braver and braver by adding melody, in the way that the classic, late 80s bands had melody, whether it was Sepultura, Death, Entombed, Dismember, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Pestilence, Carcass, so on and so forth.
Looking for classic-style death metal with songs that you can remember? Searching for death metal that is confident enough to play a variety of tempos and incorporate melody? This is it right here. Black Breath.

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