Monday, October 8, 2012

Class of 2012: Black Breath - Sentenced to Life

Black Breath combines hardcore, thrash, and death metal over the course of ten songs in just over 32 minutes on Sentenced to Life.  While this has been done time and time again, Black Breath have found a way to make it seem fresh and rather original.

Sentenced to Life gets off to a blistering start.  The first two songs, "Feast of the Damned" and "Sentenced to Life," are easily two of the best songs here.  They're surprisingly catchy and showcase the band's hardcore/punk roots.  The title track, in fact, with its chorus of "terrified of living / too scared to try," brings to mind the heyday of bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag.

On songs such as "Home of the Grave" and "The Flame," the band slows things down a bit.  It's on tracks like these where Black Breath sounds the most metal and least hardcore.  On "Endless Corpse," however, the aforementioned genres meld together very well.

The very fast "Forced Into Possession" and "Mother Abyss" bring thrash to the forefront.  For a frame of reference, think early Slayer.  The thrashy and hardcore tendancies featured throughout this record are unquestionably my favorite parts.

The album closes with its longest song, "Obey."  It starts with a 15-second drum solo before the guitars kick in.  Speaking of guitars, there's an interestingly unexpected classic rock solo around the 3:25 mark.  And then there's some more at 4:05. 

Sentenced to Life is a record that should appeal to a variety of listeners.  As the band evolves, will the hardcore elements remain?  I hope so.

Grade: B  (84.9%)

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