Sentenced To Life: Black Breath live in Lawrence, KS 07/13/15
Southern Lord, the music label responsible for crushing doom and sludged-out drone metal, started signing a plethora of quality hardcore bands a few years ago. Seemingly out of the blue, but the results have been nothing but fantastic. Easily the best pickup of the label in this time has been Seattle’s Black Breath. With their now-legendary EP “Razor to Oblivion” and a genre-shattering first album in “Heavy Breathing,” the band went on to release “Sentenced to Life” in 2012 – easily one of the best albums of that year and easily one of the best Entombed-influenced death metal/crush punk albums ever. Monday night, the band made their first stop in Lawrence in a few years at the Jackpot and provided the soundtrack to a night of heavy drinking and frenzied headbanging.
The 5-piece, fronted my manic vocalist Neil McAdams, plowed through a 9-song, 45-minute set which ran the gauntlet of everything from hardcore punk to death metal to black metal and everything in between. The group performed two brand new songs to be released on their upcoming album this Fall – the first, entitled “Slaves,” may contain some of the slowest music Black Breath has ever written in their career, but around the halfway point of the track it kicks back into standard overdrive. The other tune, “Reaping,” kept the tempo at a mid-pace and showcased the riffing talents of the musicians. Most of the other songs came from the band’s brilliant 2012 album “Sentenced To Life,” including “Mother Abyss” – the fastest song of the night – and “The Flame” which sounds like something early 90s Slayer could have penned. However, the real treat came from tracks from their first album, especially the delightfully blasphemous “Black Sin (Spit On The Cross)” which included the heaviest breakdown of the night. The sound was fantastic for the band, everything seemed mixed perfectly and no one feature overpowered any other – a particularly good night for sound at the Jackpot.
Opening for Black Breath was 4-piece grind group Theories from Seattle as well. Theories rarely let up on the gas pedal for their entire set which at points veered into powerviolence territory, as well as Pig Destroyer and Magrudergrind worship – not a bad thing at all! The show also has two local openers – the first being Sedlec Ossuary. From Kansas City, the group played a style of modern death metal reminiscent of everything from The Black Dahlia Murder and Revocation to even newer Carcass. Very impressive. The second local group was a newer band named 34 who played hardcore mixed with southern sludge and post-hardcore elements. They were extremely impressive – not only bringing the heaviness and harshness that’s expected from hardcore, but not afraid to blend in melody or unconventional guitar playing to the mix. Very refreshing!
Black Breath setlist:
1. Feast Of The Damned
2. Escape From Death
3. Slaves (new song)
4. Mother Abyss
5. Home Of The Grave
6. Black Sin (Spit On The Cross)
7. Reaping (new song)
8. The Flame