Black Breath // Sentenced to Life
Rating: 5.0/5.0 —Crunch, crunch, crustily good!
Label: Southern Lord
Websites: blackbreath.com myspace
Release Dates: Out now!

Take a wham! Bam! Pow! Sok! Crunch! Ka-pow! Thoom! And a Krrrrrak! Listening to this record is like getting beaten senseless by a punkish dominatrix. Every song flies by with a kind of sadistic glee only found in those Marvel comics starring Deadpool, and if you don’t know what Marvel or Deadpool is, I guess another apt analogy would be like sprinkling holy water everywhere at an undead homosexual wrestling pit. Also, since we’re on the topic of Marvel and Deadpool, doesn’t that hammer-carrying punk in the oh-so-subtle album art seem to be trying to break the fourth wall to get at your teeth and all things that can be broken?

Black Breath’s name may bring to mind the unsightly wisps of mephitic breath leaving your mouth in the quintessential early morning yawn, but it is quite an apt name for an abrasive Stockholm-death-metal-worshipping hardcore punk outfit like them; because frankly, I can think of no other force of nature powerful enough to knock a dog-elephant hybrid off its jumbo-sized furry feet. In extreme musical terms, it would be like standing in front of gigantic speakers and getting terRIFFied by the sheer power of the muthafornicatin’ riff.

Everything you can love about a catchy hardcore punk outfit can be heard in here: groovy riffs, mid-paced breakdowns, hooligan group shouts, neck-breaking tempo and all. But after the raging sonic stampede of angry jackasses has passed and the dust has settled, a trail of Entombed footprints can be found amidst the obvious hardcore elements. Title track “Sentenced To Life” features a motif towards the end that reminds one of Hatebreed, while “Home Of The Grave” features an aptly punctuated series of bulldozing grooves that is a pure Entombed tribute to their Left Hand Path era. The classic Stockholm chainsaw buzz sound pioneered by the legendary Swedish death metal group is the most noticeable and gratifying aspect of this record, but of course, since the music is so furious, fast and catchy as hell too, it has not been used in vain. Entombed’s (old) reputation is thankfully preserved and perhaps even glorified.

Sludgy openings to tracks like “Endless Corpse” and “Of Flesh” are a nice breather from the frequent, furious onslaught of Entombed-flavored hardcore punk noise, and are brilliantly not overdone to the point of ruining the whole fast-paced feel of this record. The lyrics are pretty unique too, for instead of dealing with political subject matter, Black Breath touches on really death metal stuff like death (duh) and occultic stuff (as evident from track titles like “Mother Abyss”).

If you recently lost your Entombed and hardcore punk collection to your spring-cleaning grandmother, scrap that idea about digging in the rubbish dump like a vagrant. Get this record instead—it gives you the best of both worlds and saves space too!