Black Breath

Heavy Breathing

Written by: AP on 13/09/2010 23:35:37

On a recent stint of Myspace exploration, a pentagram of innovative hardcore bands formed itself before me, and these shall, over the course of the next several days, be examined in my next reviews. It should come as no surprise that where there is word of unusual, genre-bending bands like these, there is also a member of Converge involved either as one of the musicians, or as the producer - or perhaps even as the person directly responsible for their signing. Black Breath owes credit to Kurt Ballou for the latter two deeds, and as is usually the case with his obscure discoveries, the band and debut album that came out of his studio earlier this year fuse influences from far and wide.

Although included in the recommended bands for fans of Kvelertak, it would be a huge mistake to lump Black Breath into the same pool. Both cross black metal with hardcore, but where the former places a heavy emphasis on their rock n' roll influences, the latter has far more thrash metal and punk tendencies. So black n' roll this is not, even though the raw and dirty production - which sounds like it's coming from a classic 70's power amplifier - and some of the rhetoric certainly points in that direction. The choice of song titles coupled with the appropriate lyrics reflects inspired, subtle humor aimed at kvlt black metal bands, but the joke is on friendly terms, not least because the influence of classic Norwegian black metal cannot be ignored on "Heavy Breathing". This is most notable in the long drawn tremolo riffing of "Escape From Death" and in the droning, heavily distorted slowness of "Wewhocannotbenamed".

Most songs pound at the listener at a much quicker, d-beat driven pace though, bringing to mind the furious likes of Trap Them and Trash Talk. From the torturing shredding that lands the album in your face in "Black Sin (Spit on the Cross)" (again, note the implicit mockery and hear the use of different forms classic black metal chord progressions), to the violent stranglehold that songs like "Eat the Witch", "Virus" and "Children of the Horn" place on you, there is a constant sense of frenzy in the songs that can only be attributed to punk - the latter even bears an inevitable similarity to the devastating ire of Converge, the very proprietors of extreme metallic punk like this. But since mere relentless fury has a risk of growing exhausting, Black Breath have included enough variation to challenge even their most eclectic peers, with "I Am Beyond", "Unholy Virgin" and "Murder" all carrying a Southern groove resembling Cancer Bats at their slowest and most crushing.

So where does this leave us? Well, from the above reflection you might have gathered that "Heavy Breathing" belongs in the more experimental caste of hardcore bands, similar in spirit to the bands mentioned. It is chaotic without ever venturing into the nonsensical; heavy as fuck; and full of uncompromising rage. Some critical minds will undoubtedly deem it inaccessible, but while this is definitely not typical, run-of-the-mill chart music, fans of bands akin to Converge are prone to embrace its aggravating nature and abrasive tone. As such for any fan of hardcore and metal for that matter, "Heavy Breathing" comes highly recommended.

8

Download: Black Sin (Spit on the Cross), Escape From Death, I Am Beyond, Children of the Horn, Wewhocannotbenamed
For the fans of: Cancer Bats, Converge, Kvelertak, Trap Them, Trash Talk
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.04.2010
Southern Lord Records

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