Black Breath – ‘Razor To Oblivion EP’ Review

Imagine if you will (but perhaps not if you have a weak stomach) the illegitimate offspring of a union between Kerry King and Lemmy, for that is without doubt the provenance of this none-more-rock’n’roll outfit from Washington and now signed to Southern Lord. 

Technically not a new release, but a re-release of their ‘Razor to oblivion’ EP (originally put out through the band’s own label) this four track slice of mayhem is a riotous blast of punk infused metal. Raw, but not badly produced, the band carve their own identity out over the distressingly short run time (a mere 14 minutes) in a manner that leaves the listener gasping for breath. Opening track ‘Razor to oblivion’ sets out the band’s stall in no uncertain terms as it rages forth in a manner that suggests mildly unhinged genius. Clear talent is on display from all of the musicians, even though it speeds past in a manner that suggests it’s all going to fall apart at any minute, and the vocals are splendidly deranged. ‘Fatal error’ offers a dirty groove that recalls Celtic Frost covering Amen – it’s fast and brutal, yet offers enough variety to keep interest, and adrenalin levels, high. 

‘Beneath the crust’ opens with the sort of pummelling drums that Mastadon utilise so well, before stripping down to a doom laden trawl through the Seattle murk that does indeed sound like it’s drilling up through the layers of the earth’s crust with its bass-heavy sound before opening up into a wall of guitars that simply hammer the listener into a daze. ‘Murder’ similarly lives up to its name by throwing in a riff that is pure evil, hinting at ‘South of Heaven’ era Slayer if Slayer had played venom-laced doom rock instead of thrash metal.

It’s over all too quickly, with the last crashing chords and spite-laden vocals fading away in less than quarter of an hour, but in the manner of all great works of entertainment it leaves you desperate for more by exiting on a high. Apparently Black Breath are aiming to release a full-length record next year and I can think of no better label to support the growth of such a potent band than Southern Lord who are more than willing to nurture vicious beasts without restraint. This is certainly a band to watch as they offer an element of danger that is so often sorely missing from mainstream music. Worth checking out whether you like hardcore punk, black metal, doom or thrash this is a brutal missive from a band destined to do great things.

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