Black Breath - Sentenced to Life

Posted on Friday, March 09, 2012

The life of a music addict can be quite fulfilling, yet also very disheartening at the same time. Just like any other junkie, we need our fix, we want it now, and keep it coming. When I first heard Heavy Breathing two years ago, I was immediately hooked. I listened to it nearly every day for several months. I just couldn’t get enough and I ended up burning myself out on it. And then, just like some scatterbrained coke whore with ADD, something else caught my ear and stole my attention, unfairly plunging Black Breath into the backburner depths of forgetfulness (along with ex-girlfriends’ phone numbers and 87% of everything I learned in school). But when I saw Sentenced to Life in my review stack… holy shit, my eyes lit up like a crackhead on Christmas. “The shit be callin’ me, man!!” You see, this Seattle horde’s brew is a potent one, and it’s an extremely unique buzz. They take the early ’90s Swedeath sound and mix it with a pissed off Hardcore urgency. This is high octane brute force, people. The Sunlight tone is nailed harder than Christ’s feet. How authentic is it? A buddy walked in on me playing this album and asked me when Dismember got a new singer. Fans of the aforementioned 2010 masterpiece will be pleased to find that not much has changed. Sure, they may have tightened things up a bit. A somewhat leaner, meaner sound with some of the fat trimmed away. Which sadly means there aren’t any standout Christ-hating anthems as timeless as “Black Sin (Spit on the Cross),” but there’s also no Danzigesque striptease mistakes like “Unholy Virgin” either. “Home of the Grave” is a very different song for these guys, especially the ending, but it doesn’t disrupt the raw, grisly flow of the record. Once again Neil McAdams’ vocals emerge as the star of the show. He’s got a borderline Street Punk/Thrash scream here, yet it lends itself perfectly to the band’s high-energy buzzsaw Death Metal. All I have to say about it is, “FEAST OF THE DAMNED!” Do yourself a solid and pick this shit up. It’s a near flawless ride that’s “hard and it’s heavy, dirty and mean.”

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