Black Breath – Sentenced To Life

Black Breath Sentenced To Life album cover2012 Southern Lord Records
Oh my God, where do I even begin?  From the Kill ’em All meets Power of the Night album cover to the mercilessly relentless onslaught of primed and ready buzzsaw guitar to the completely OTT vocal spewages of lead throat Neil, Sentenced to Life is one of the few albums I’ve ever heard that can rival the levels of pure electricity created by Slayer or Entombed at full throttle.  The fact that the band proudly pays homage to their impressive metal roots only makes me love the album more (check out the Celtic Frost font they use on the Razor to Obliveon EP…aces!).
All this rave and I haven’t even gotten to the music…yet.
To get right to the point, this relentless and most welcome migraine headache of an album never lets up for a second.   Feast of the Damned kicks things off in style and you immediately know what you’re in for.  Never sacrificing groove when they hit the accelerator, the title track keeps the party going as the impossible power and energy abuses your woofers and tweeters like an unstoppable sledge with nary a second to spare for solos.
In fact, one of the coolest things about Sentenced To Life is the underlying punk/hardcore ethic with the emphasis squarely on the power and delivery of the riff.   This works in spades for Black Breath, as all too often a band like this overstates the point with songs that are longer than they need to be either through over-repetition of riffs or long noodling solos.  Now I love a good guitar shred as much as anyone, but sometimes it’s just not necessary.  In the case of Sentenced To Life, brevity works in the band’s favor as every song is as long as it needs to be, making for an album that is admittedly short but also demands repeated listens because of it. This ain’t music for the faint of heart.
The white-hot mix puts brutal guitar and bass up front with the tight and powerful drums beating the hell out of everything in their path and the aforementioned Neil letting it all out in unrestrained fashion that would make Tom Araya and LG Petrov proud.  “Sentenced to life…terrified of living, too scared to die.”  Has there ever been a more ridiculously hopeless OTT line in any lyric?  So OTT that I really get the sense that I’m laughing with them…certainly not at them.
I dunno…from the unchained electricity of the mix to the brutally spirited performances and a raft of kickin’ tunes, this album is a workout of the highest order.  And the brevity of it all doesn’t bother me a bit…I’d rather just have a half hour of excellence than an hour long disc that I have to skip through to find said treasured half hour. This one’s a winner.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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10 Most Truly Abysmal Band Names

And here it is!!!   This is the long-awaited list of the Top 10 Most Truly Abysmal Band Names…band names that are cool, funny, clever, crazy or whatever, as long as they’re memorable but not a household name.

Take a look, have a laugh and click on the links…you just might find your new favorite band!

woo1. Tricky Woo – Because I don’t know what the hell it means…and it makes me laugh!  Thanks to my bro Paul Ledoux for introducing me to this band.

mudhoney2. Mudhoney – Just gotta love a grunge band name taken from a Russ Meyer film.  It actually is a good descriptive for the gooey, sludgey sounds the band still makes to this day.  Great call, Darren.

neds3. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – The name just makes me smile.  I don’t even know exactly why…it just sounds cool.  Thanks for the suggestion, Greggo!

frost4. Celtic Frost – One of my all-time favorite band names…just really cool with a real mystique about it.

MC5. MC 900 Ft Jesus – Originally a team with DJ Zero (now out of the music biz since 1995), I’ve always thought this was the most OTT rap name ever.  The name was taken from a sermon in which Oral Roberts claimed that he had received a vision of a 900 foot tall Jesus, who commanded him to build a hospital on the campus of Oral Roberts University.

cage6. Cage the Elephant – Because it’s unique…and SO open to interpretation.  I  hope they’re around for a long time.

gruntruck7. Gruntruck – I remember seeing these guys open for Circus of Power (another cool name) at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, LA back in ’95 (calling Paul Ledoux!).   Just a cool sounding name that also describes their sound quite well.  This inclusion dedicated to lead vocalist/guitarist Ben McMillan, who died from diabetes on January 26, 2008.

bark8. Barkmarket – Another one that I love because it makes me crack a smile. Totally fun band name and quite the radical sound to go with it.

skinny9. Skinny Puppy – There really is nothing more to say.  I mean really…   Thanks Darren for reminding me of one of my fave band names from my college days.

wfn10. World Famous Nobodies – Maybe I’m biased ‘cuz it’s the band I’m in, but when my bro Paul Ledoux came up with this name I thought it was the coolest name I ever heard. And it never fails to make me crack a smile to this day.

wellhungarians11. The Well Hungarians – I know nothing about this band except that they’re a country band…and I don’t care.  I just can’t stop laughing.  As you’re reading this, I’m probably still laughing.  It’s your fault, Greggo!

Honorable Mention: Melvins, That Petrol Emotion, Curve, Swell, Amorphis, Clutch, Toadies, Atomic Bitchwax, Killer Dwarfs, Kyuss, Revolting Cocks, Liquid Jelly Monkey Love, Mercyful Fate, Monster Magnet, Strapping Young Lad, Morphine, Trouble, Obituary (THE perfect death-metal band name), Machines of Loving Grace, Spot, Ween, Zen Engine, Ancient Chinese Penis, Prong, Missing Persons, Camper Van Beethoven, Circus of Power, Butthole Surfers, Green Jello, Afghan Whigs, Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Jodie Foster’s Army, Meat Puppets, Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, Winona Riders, Big Audio Dynamite, Chumbawamba, Snot, Dead Kennedys, Lard, 1000 Homo DJ’s, Pig Face.

Special thanks to Greg “Greggo” Liebrand and Darren “Darro” Cochran for some truly Abysmal recommendations.