BLACK BREATH (Sentenced To Life) LP/CD

Admittedly I am very picky about recent death metal bands. The only groups I like are the ones which strictly follow in the footsteps of Nihilist/Entombed, Autopsy, Grave, Cianide, Bolt Thrower and consorts. As you can see, I need heavily down-tuned guitars, brutal grooves, killer riffs and vocals that do not sound like the ones you can hear from a grizzly bear with a strong throat pain. Therefore, I was extremely pleased when I found a promo copy of the new BLACK BREATH album in the post box, because these guys fulfil the above mentioned requirements, whereby the focus here is placed on old Swedish death metal.

To make it more brutal, BLACK BREATH have injected a good dose of hardcore punk, which is particularly noticeable in the vocals of Neil McAdams. Fortunately, you won't find the standard moronic grunting here or annoying black metal shrieks. As far as the music goes, this is perfection. There are lots of devastating guitars, crunchy riffs, thick basslines and thunderous drum work. Everything is played with tight precision and this record hits you like a wall of roaring, head pounding fury from start to finish. To put it bluntly, this album crushes. And despite all brutality, 'Sentenced To Life' never becomes boring. BLACK BREATH speed up or slow down the rhythm by varying the tempo and the result is always gripping.

Moreover, the way that each of the ten tracks was written put a strong focus and emphasis on the value of skull splitting riffs. And on top of all that, tuning down the guitars adds to the immense weight and intensity of every song. Hence, it is almost superfluous to mention that the production is not only top-notch but also overwhelmingly powerful. Therefore gratitude is owed to Kurt Ballou and Alan Douches, who did the final mastering. Without a doubt, this album is about as fierce as it gets and it fundamentally proves that BLACK BREATH has done everything right. Simply put, 'Sentenced To Life' is an absolute must for death metal purists. Buy it with no remorse.