Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Review: Black Breath - Sentenced to Life

Black Breath
Sentenced to Life

01 – Feast of the Damned
02 – Sentenced to Life
03 – Forced Into Possession
04 – Home of the Grave
05 – Endless Corpse
06 – Mother Abyss
07 – Of Flesh
08 – Doomed
09 – The Flame
10 – Obey

I know it’s hard to tell who writes these reviews (“Lost Tribe” is made up of 2-4 people depending on how lazy/drunk/horny some of us are), and to be honest I like that ambiguity as readers won’t simply flock to or avoid a certain author because they agree with or despise their musical tastes.  In other words, you have to give each review a chance, whether you love grindcore or pop punk.

The reason I wrote the above preface is because another member of the blog has previously written about his innate love for all things pop punk and/or straightforward hardcore.  I mention that we have multiple authors because while I respect this love, I don’t really share it (this blog is not just one person deciding that they love pop punk one day and metal the next.).  In fact, I came to hardcore solely through metal.  I was introduced to non-parental music through metal, I learned how to play guitar by struggling through Metallica and Slayer tab books, and I only started listening to and playing hardcore after my metal band started sharing shows with local hardcore acts.  While I do love all sorts of hardcore bands I have a special place in my ears for metallic hardcore bands and metal bands that have been adopted by hardcore.

Black Breath is one such band.  There seems to be a certain number of metal/grind/etc. bands that the hardcore scene adopts, despite an open hostility towards metal in certain areas of the hardcore scene.  I’m not sure why this happens, but according to some, bands like Power Trip, Skin Like Iron, or Nails are hardcore bands.  ...To anyone who has heard these bands, I can’t believe anyone could make such an assertion while keeping a straight face.  True, these bands may have the odd breakdown, regularly play with hardcore bands, or even feature members of former prominent hardcore bands, but that doesn’t make any of them an actual hardcore band.  They are metal bands. Pure and simple.  And that doesn’t make them worse in any fact, as an eternal metal head, it makes me extremely happy when I go to a hardcore show and see bands like this.

The reason I’ve gone on a three paragraph rant to open this review is because Black Breath should be counted amongst the metal-but-somehow-hardcore bands that I was talking about.  In fact, I bought their most recent album, Sentenced to Life, at This is Hardcore earlier this month.  And goddamn if it’s not one of the best metal albums I’ve heard in a long time.  It’s everything a good (metal) album should be.  It’s crushingly heavy, unrelenting, dark, catchy, and every song is about death/Satan/rotting corpses/more death.

I know that for many this album has been highly regarded for a while now.  And truth be told, I had heard the album a couple times through before I picked it up at TIH, but I hadn’t really given it the chance it deserved until I returned from Philly.  Tracks like “Mother Abyss” and “Sentenced to Life” are definite highlights of the album, but this record doesn’t have a bad track on it.  It strips down a lot of the unnecessary musical bullshit that goes on in metal, and opts for solid riffs, desperate screams, and a pounding rhythm section instead.  For anyone who isn’t saying “No shit...everyone knows this album is great...” I highly suggest you go and buy yourself a copy and rock the fuck out. Hard.

Also, it’s quickly becoming apparent with this release and Burning Love’s latest record that Southern Lord can really do no wrong in my eyes.

Get a copy here.

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