Black Breath – Heavy Breathing (Southern Lord Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Question: how do you make the D-beat exciting and interesting enough for a full-length? Answer: borrow from Sweden.

Fresh off a feisty EP in the form of Razor to Oblivion, Seattle’s Black Breath return with their first proper full-length, Heavy Breathing, which sounds like a stoner rock album title. Anyway, the band has buffered their D-beat laden style with some wise, wise, wise Wolverine Blues-styled manoeuvrings. Well, it’s all right there in the first place: the tones, the gnarled riffs, the pissed-off attitude. All that is missing is Earache fucking the thing up by putting Wolverine (the comic book character, not Hugh Jackman) on the cover.

The decided death metal influences that make an appearance are certainly warranted. They lift up the speedy “Escape From Death” and Edge of Sanity-inspired (think “Silent” off Purgatory Afterglow) “Children of Horn.” All this does is level-off the blatant Entombed worship going on during “I Am Beyond,” which could warrant an inquisitive phone call from Nicke Andersson. In fact, a lot ofHeavy Breathing sounds like Wolverine Blues had Entombed not been so inclined to just rock out.

Then again, Heavy Breathing might be more well-rounded then we’re making it out to be. It’s a nice little combo of D-beat, Swedish death metal and punk, and while it’s far from perfect (see: the clumsy “Unholy Virgin), it’s got the guts swagger to turn some heads. The real test will be if Black Breath can sustain for this beyond one album. The well for good ideas usually dries up pretty quickly once heavy-duty touring kicks in and some wear-and-tear starts to show. Time will tell…

www.myspace.com/blackbreath

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)