Hailing from Seattle, Washington, the five hellspawn collectively known as Black Breath turned some heads with their debut EP, Razor to Oblivion. And now they have returned, with a darker, nastier, heavier full-length beast by the name of Heavy Breathing (Southern Lord). The band has taken its previous formula that mixes d-beat, metal and punk stylings with thrash sensibilities to an all new level of manic devastation with the inclusion of influences that harken back to the legendary heyday of Swedish death metal.

Heavy Breathing was recorded at God City Studio with Kurt Ballou of Converge and is comprised of ten songs chock-full of the kind of fury that fans of Entombed and Discharge raise horns and beers to every chance they get. The vocals are consistently in-your-face from beginning to end, raspy, hoarse and punishing, accompanied by hardcore gang vocals at times throughout. With every abrasive punk riff that shows its face on Heavy Breathing, there is a Slayer-esque guitar melody to match.

Songs like the record’s opener “Black Sin (Spit on the Cross)”, “Eat the Witch” and “Unholy Virgin” are infested with speed, filth, blasphemy and nod to the morbid side of life. This quality is present along side catchy-yet-annihilating songwriting through the duration of Heavy Breathing and is threaded through the sound of every voice and instrument involved.

For this record, a first listen was not immediately enough for this reviewer, as it was indeed necessary to play it again as soon as it finished. The reason being that if Heavy Breathing were three times longer, I still would’ve done the same. Yes, it does kick that much ass. And yes, this reviewer is definitely hooked on Heavy Breathing!