Black Breath - Heavy Breathing
Southern Lord
Blackened Sludge/ Crossover Thrash
10 songs (40:14)
Release year: 2010
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Tyler

There is an awful lot to like about Black Breath; in metal scene that increasingly encourages the ripping off of one’s influences, this Seattle band references a broad scope of classic (if the 80’s can indeed be considered “classic”) influences while remaining fresh, original, and pretty damn exhilarating. Like a pitchfork shaped needle to the vein, their 2010 album Heavy Breathing is a blasphemous beatdown from start to unrelenting finish. A little dissecting, however, reveals an interesting cocktail of influences; plenty of bands have tread the beaten paths of these genres, but certainly not in the way Black Breath is doing it here. Essentially, Black Breath’s sound is this: Sludge guitars, played at Thrash speed (with drums that occasionally sound as if they’ve been pilfered verbatim from 80’s Slayer), with Black metal style lyrics and tremolo melodies, sung by an 80’s scene hardcore singer. ‘Sound like your cup o’ tea? Of course it does.

Black Sin (Spit on the Cross) is very much a summary of what makes up most of Heavy Breathing: crushing thrash, throat-tearing vocals, simple yet catchy choruses, furious tremolo licks, a groovy breakdown, and some very, very Satanic lyrics. Good stuff, all around. Seriously, I needn’t delve into many more of the album’s tracks; of the ten songs on the album, seven of them follow that basic recipe. And that is really not a bad thing here, because Black Breath do what they do very well. Those seven “formula” songs are each armed with big riffs, devastating breakdowns, and easily memorable choruses. In other words, it is masterful, energetic, modern thrash at its best, leaving precious little room for complaints.

However, it is those three remaining tracks that Black Breath’s potential really shows. Heavy Breathing is an evil, almost Gothic sounding instrumental interlude, leading into the NWOBHM-influenced Children of the Horn. I Am Beyond and Unholy Virgin, on the other hand, are the album’s absolute highlights; it is here that the band most fully explores its Sludge Metal influences. The former is heavily influenced by NOLA scene acts like Crowbar and Down, while the latter is a devilishly twisted blues-metal anthem. Together, these tracks provide a dynamic to the album that prevents the album from ever becoming monotonous its aggression while keeping the whole affair satisfyingly simple.

For those not expecting much innovation, Heavy Breathing is a brutally enjoyable listen that will appease those with an array of extreme metal sensibilities. Black Breath has turned in one of the heaviest and most energetic albums of the last few months, and makes them a “can’t miss” on the live circuit. It is albums like these that makes us want to jump into the pit, bang our heads, throw up the horns, and generally worship at the alter of HEAVY FUCKING METAL. Fuck boundary pushing; this is pure, evil, wonderful metal. What could be better?

Killing Songs :
Not a bad track here, but a few of my favorites are Black Sin (Spit on the Cross), Escape From Death, I Am Beyond, Virus, Fallen, and Unholy Virgin
Tyler quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Black Breath that we have reviewed:
Black Breath - Sentenced To Life reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 7 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:22 pm
View and Post comments