Devil’s Review: Black Breath – Sentenced To Life

Very rarely does such cheesy artwork cover up some excellent music, and in 2012 I have found the above culprit to mask some great thrashy tunes underneath this. Black Breath has been a product of the excellent underground label, Southern Lord since it’s inception; from their Razor To Oblivion EP to their slightly disappointing 1st LP Heavy Breathing and now the brand new Sentenced To Life. These guys are clearly not new to the scene but they have yet to manage a true big break, well consider yourselves informed; Black Breath and their sledgehammer o’cheese (pictured above) mean serious business.

The band is propelled by the harder edge of thrash metal from the late 80’s such as Morbid Saint, Dark Angel, and Exumer in combination with the buzzsaw guitar tone of the beginning of the Stockholm death metal scene of the early 90’s. Throw all of the prior ingredients together with just a little bit of Discharge era crust and you have quite the volatile combination. Vocalist Neil McAdams just sounds plain pissed off from beginning to end and makes him a tough vocalist to top and that includes current angry thrasher Joel Grind. This is a marked improvement from the band’s previous EP as it is very balanced between straightforward thrashers and slower numbers that crush you will unrelenting riffs. ‘Sentenced To Life’ and ‘Forced Into Possession’ really seem to get the ball rolling by smashing you in the face with it and just getting your blood pumping. It is with tracks such as ‘Endless Corpse’ that the band can separate themselves from a somewhat inconsistent past.

‘Endless Corpse’ may resemble their previous album’s efforts in terms of song length but it is surely composed with such nice detail and even has an intro that doesn’t drag on as well. Excellent grooves work their way into the madness that are guitarists E. Wallace and F. Funds. This duo really seem to have their gear working in high order as they could give Left Hand Path era Uffe Cederlund and Alex Hellid a run for their money. Moving through the album you will see more of the quick drive by murder tracks such as ‘Mother Abyss’ and ‘Doomed’ which remind you time and time again what it was that Black Breath wants to do at every turn of the corner. Nobody is safe from their assault.

So the band has made sure to put most of Heavy Breathing behind them in favor of a direction more reminiscent of Razor To Oblivion and this can only get better. Look out fellow American thrash bands; Black Breath may have put themselves over the top with the record which has to easily be one of the most fun records that 2012 has turned out yet, and one that should not be missed for any fan of metal with a serious edge. I leave you with some of their influences or at least what I seem to think they are.

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One response to “Devil’s Review: Black Breath – Sentenced To Life

  1. This is a killer album and that cover is fuckin’ sweet, true story. I thought Heavy Breathing had some really good songs but this one is definitely a step up.

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