Black Breath – Slaves Beyond Death (Southern Lord, 2015)
By no means the most original band in their genre, Black Breath have nonetheless showcased an incredible knack for amalgamating death metal, crust punk and rock ‘n’ roll into a jolting cocktail of muscular vigor. On Slaves Beyond Death, the Washington quintet crank up the BOSS HM-2 pedals and deliver their best Entombed impression, doubling down on the chugging death metal riffs while also cutting their usual lightning fast tempos in half. Though a change of pace is commendable and singer Neil McAdams’ new vocal style is unbelievably authentic, Black Breath prove to be much less interesting when given room for closer inspection; what worked as a lightning fast flurry of aggression doesn’t exactly make for the most riveting of songwriting when slowed to a crawl. Though admittedly unexpected, Slaves Beyond Death is shockingly lacking in bite.
Trial Track: “Reaping Flesh”