Artist: Black Breath
Album: Slaves Beyond Death
Record Label: Southern Lord
Release Date: 24/9/2015
Masterful Seattle crossover quintet strike a deathly blow once again with their longest, darkest album to date
When Black Breath released their second album 'Sentenced To Life' in 2012, the metal community seemed to find it's new favourite to perpetuate the crusty, filthy thrash/hardcore hybrid that Southern Lord have been particularly prolific in pushing in recent times. One of the gnarliest, grooviest heavy records of the last few years, 'Sentenced...' was a no holds barred 35-minute spasm that put even the likes of later-era Slayer to shame.
Which may be why 'Slaves Beyond Death' has received a somewhat reserved reception by comparison. Their longest and grimmest album to date, the Seattle quintet replace 3-minute ragers with 5 or 6 minute bull-dozers, atmospherics and more sludgy, mid-paced heavyweights. Having said that, this album contains the most cohesive song-writing of any Black Breath album to date and is actually a rather masterful piece of art for it.
The extended, hulking riff-o-rama that kicks off 'Pleasure, Pain, Disease' finds them in characteristically filthy form, and the infectious BM tremolo picking-meets D-Beat crust crossover immediately adds another string to their bow. The blood-pumpingly triumphant 'Reaping Flesh' near perfectly marries death 'n'roll with darkly anthemic sludge. Rarely do the longer form tracks out-stay their welcome, particularly via the bleak savagery of 'Arc of Violence' and the epic story-telling on 'A Place of Insane Cruelty'.
With only penultimate track 'Burning Hate' failing to add much diversity in to the equation, Black Breath have produced a macabre sentinel that strays just far enough from their favoured blue-print to expand their song-writing and stay refreshing, but remains close enough to home to include all the electrifying, primal ingredients. That's a hat-trick for them and a hat-trick for heavy metal consistency.
Key Tracks: Reaping Flesh, Arc of Violence, A Place of Insane Cruelty
For Fans of: Dismember, Trap Them, High On Fire