Black Breath – Slaves Beyond Death (Southern Lord)

Genre: Death Metal

Of all of the North American bands to have held the Boss HM-2 pedal aloft in tribute to Entombed, Dismember et al, Black Breath have been amongst the most potent.

And now, three albums in, they’ve firmly established themselves as a great death metal band – not just another bunch of oiks in thrall to the sounds of Stockholm’s Sunlight studios.

Slaves Beyond Death is an altogether darker, less punky and more downright ‘metal’ album than its predecessors, Heavy Breathing and Sentenced to Life. Arc of Violence, for instance, brings to mind the creepier moments of Entombed’s classic, Clandestine, while guitarists Eric Wallace and Mark Palm up their game considerably on tracks like Seed of Cain, unleashing both incendiary riffs and magnificent solos.

However, long-time fans will be pleased to know that Slaves Beyond Death is still packing plenty of aggro, with Burning Hate busting heads and opener Pleasure, Pain, Disease reminiscent of album producer Kurt Ballou’s hardcore firestarters, Converge.

Put simply, if you want evidence that DM bands can borrow from the past, yet forge something fresh and vital in 2015, then look no further than this awesome racket.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Black magic