Black Breath is a band from Seattle, WA, and another of the legion of recordings brought to us by the one and only Kurt Ballou. Jesus, how many times am I going to have to name drop him this year? Hot on the heels of the popular new release from High on Fire, Slaves Beyond Death is another whiskey-swigging piece of crusty metal that rocks hard and reeks of BO. If you like your death metal on the crunchy punk rock side, welcome.
That wicked distortion kicks in and it is barely necessary to state who is in charge of the recording sessions. That unmistakeable tone is becoming part of the pantheon of signature styles more and more every day. Just get a load of the gain on the title track. That chuggy, doomy riff is causing serious anxiety for my speakers. It charges through the mix to throttle you through the subwoofer.
But this isn't all southern-fried power chords either. Tremolos. Tremolos everywhere. "Reaping Flesh," among others, throws plenty of these mainstays of black and death metal between the slashing solos and vicious palm-muting. These songs can't always seem to decide if they want to be At The Gates, Gorgoroth, or Motorhead.
And then "Seed of Cain" kicks in with a 80's Metallica style solo and I just don't know what to think. Well, that's not entirely true. I know to think that "this is pretty awesome," but I'm still scared and confused. Whatever your particular reaction is, I have a hard time thinking it will be "I hate this." I wasn't thoroughly blown away or anything, but the riffs, pounding toms, and vile vocal delivery were like sweet sweet candy for my ears.
Slaves Beyond Death comes out today for just $7.99 on bandcamp. At the time of this writing, the full stream was not yet up there, but you CAN hear the whole thing for your previewing pleasure RIGHT HERE at Brooklyn Vegan. It's a little bit punk, a little bit thrash, a lotta bit death; and just an all around fun record. You've been warned, Black Breath and Kurt's minions are here to take over the world, one album at a time.