At first I was somewhat hesitant to review Sentenced to Life due to the sludgy/doom offerings that are generally churned out from Southern Lord, of which I am not much of a fan. After hearing “Sentenced to Life”, the title track I felt more compelled to give it another spin. This is the second full length from Black Breath, a Seattle, Washington based death/thrash/crossover outfit.
The first element one will notice is the unmistakable heaviness that embodies Sentenced to Life, plus tight riffing and frantic drumming. Black Breath goes right to work with “Feast of the Damned”, a fast, super charged song that sets the pace as most songs clock in at under 3 minutes. On songs like “Doomed” you can detect an almost punk/hardcore feel in the intensity as well as vocal delivery from Neil McAdams. Contrast that with “Home of the Grave” which could easily sneak into Dismember’s catalog and you wouldn’t even know. The heaviness, crunchy guitars and emotion really shine forth on this track.
“Mother Abyss” has got be the most bombastic scorcher on the album; without hyperbole, it just rips—check out that heavy bass laid down by Elijah Nelson as well. The hardcore connection really stands out on the track “Of Flesh”. These guys really like to mix it up and do a pretty damn good job as well. “Endless Corpse” seems to be the most versatile track as there is a dynamite atmospheric intro to set the mood, a hard hitting section with spectacular tremolo riffage and a murky, slowed down part that calls to mind “Undercurrent” from Ihsahn. There is definitely a lot going on here and way more than one would ever expect.
I cannot overstate enough the cross genre appeal that is contained within Sentenced to Life. There is literally enough here for everyone; while it lacks a black metal vibe I feel it would still be relevant enough for those that jam out with corpse paint. Check this out now and crank it to 11 by all means.