Black Breath – Slaves Beyond Death (2015)

Black Breath are the kind of band that just make great metal. There’s a little bit of black, a little bit of death, a little bit of groove, thrash, doom… all of it mixes together to make an ugly black mess that isn’t just grimy, but well-thought as well. I’m not going to simply throw the word “proggy” out there, but let’s just say that there are some notable textures in those riffs and they go great with the absolutely heinous vocals of their frontman. This guy sounds like the embodiment of pure evil, and when he screams “You’ll suffer eternally!” you’re feel it. Goddamn what a pounding record. In part I’m reminded a bit of Goatwhore, but I feel there’s a little more death to this mixture, as well as a little more experimenting. You don’t really know what these guys are going to pull off in a song, but you’re glad as hell that they did it. It’s the kind of record that you just sit down and bang your fucking head to, proud that metal is alive and well. Maybe “Seed Of Cain” (6:54) comes in a little lightly and lacks the raw energy of the album’s killer title cut, but it still manages to deliver with a ferocious black metal influenced bite that almost sounds like Makael Stanne in a black metal act. Then we have “Arc Of Violence” (6:06) which almost sounds like a horror tale, making me think of only the greats. This whole record comes as a breath of pure fresh air – a Black Breath of pure fresh air, as it shows effortlessly that metal can still be metal without ten tons of genre tags tied to it. There are really no words I can say to explain how much I love this fucking beast, and thankfully the songs are long enough to allow me to enjoy every single minute unleashed within this onslaught. But what I really like is the album’s unexpected closing note in “Chains Of The Afterlife” (7:47) which allows the band to show just what they’ve got as far as composition is concerned. The piece contains no vocals, and is instead a mixture of just plain great riffs and solo efforts. Black Breath put on display the fact that they can actually write riffs and great ones at that; so I feel that it’s imperative for several other acts out there to listen and learn. This is how it’s done. The Grim Tower highly recommends Slaves Beyond Death… but you don’t need me to tell you that. Metalheads just know.

(8 Tracks, 49:00)

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