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Black Breath – “Razor to Oblivion” EP Review

Black Breath - "Razor to Oblivion" EP

Black Breath – “Razor to OblivionEP (Southern Lord Recordings, 2009)

Last week a friend recommended that I check out a band named Black Breath because they sounded like a bastard love child of an unique and unholy love triangle between Crucifix, Motorhead and the mighty Discharge, three of my favorite bands. I replied – rather petulantly, I might add – that I didn’t need a group that sounded like these aggregations because I saw Crucifix’s only incendiary show in Atlanta in 1983, I played pinball with Lemmy (like millions of other people), and I still had all of my Discharge 45s and LPs from way back in the day. What use did I have for a bunch of dudes who sounded like them?

But I am always on the look out for new music to review here at Pitch Black Brigade so . . . I went to iTunes and typed in “Black Breath.” Just as an aside, do y’all remember when finding good music was an arduous task? I was faced with two choices for Black Breath in ye olde iTunes store: an EP or an album. I chose the EP because I don’t get paid to write this blog. I don’t even get the music for free; I buy the albums I review. I do it for fun and, like most things that are fun, it’s a money-losing proposition. So I was cheap, I admit it, and bought the EP.

Black Breath are a bunch of lads from Bellingham, Washington. They began playing together in 2005. In 2008, they recorded and released “Razor to Oblivion” EP on their own label, Hot Mass Records. The EP’s relentless and crushing tracks came to the attention of the mighty label Southern Lord and Southern Lord took over distribution of “Razor to Oblivion” and signed Black Breath. Listening to the EP, it is easy to understand why Southern Lord was interested in signing them. Let me tell you that metallic-edged punk like Discharge and the immortal three-piece Corrosion of Conformity pioneered ain’t dead.

Black Breath – “Razor to Oblivion”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zPSbJUmBeM

“Razor to Oblivion” is one smoking unrelenting record. There is no messing around here – just straight ahead, skull-crushing rock. And it is as heavy as the steel plating used to build battleships. The first song, “Razor to Oblivion,” features a riff that sounds like it was left over from Motorhead’s “Overkill” sessions. While the EP’s third song, “Beneath the Crust,” busts out homage – a direct quote – from what we use to call “Peace Punk” greats Crucifix’s “Prejudice” at the 1:10 mark of the song.

I owe my friend an apology for my sarcastic reply to their recommendation – I really enjoyed “Razor to Oblivion.” I don’t mind that Black Breath wore their influences on their sleeve on this EP because the disc is the sound of a band gradually developing their own sound. They took bits and pieces of this and that and threw them into the cauldron and now they are working through them and slowly they will emerge with their own sound and direction. In fact “Razor to Oblivion” made me want to go out and get “Heavy Breathing,” their first LP, to see what the band was up to now.

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