What an odd week it's been.
Let me rewind that, since I haven't posted on here in months and months and what small readership I've built over the last couple of years has likely dried up since I've stopped posting. But in my standard fashion, I've recently decided that I should begin afresh with my scholarly and artistic pursuits, and I figured that I would start by pointlessly rebuilding this blog that I've been neglecting.
Lately, I've been paying attention to people who work hard to build themselves into their respective scenes. By this, I of course mean I've been listening to comedy podcasts and noticing people who work hard to install themselves in the comedy scene. It helps that comedy podcasts are delightful. But it's recently lit a fire under my generally lazy ass to get myself off the couch and onto the lazy chair, where I'm free to type and search for weird pictures and lounge in a pungent cloud of farts and do some ACTUAL FUCKING WORK.
It should come as no surprise to anybody who has ever read this blog that I have a serious thing for D-beat. In fact, if it were up to me, grocery stores and strip malls would pipe in nothing but crusty, Discharge-inspired music so that my D-boner would be constantly and thoroughly stroked at all times. I picture this world as a utopia on par with world imagined in Plato's The Republic, except that every normal human being would be perfectly miserable while I bebop around with the world's most painfully obvious D-pants tent at all times. Actually, the world of my imagining might actually look like the "Treehouse of Horror V" episode of the Simpsons where Homer accidentally goes back in time and alters the course of history using a toaster (the segment is called "Time and Punishment") where Ned Flanders runs the world with an iron fist and gives lobotomies to dissenters. Except that I'd be Flanders (a dream come true, really), and everybody would be a lobotomized dissenter, because there's nobody other than myself that can listen to crusty D-beat indefinitely, forever.
Enter Black Breath, probably my second or third favorite current band (Trap Them is first, and I don't really know who is second because I haven't labeled these kinds of things since I was a child). I fell in love with Black Breath a couple of years ago after some very enthusiastic recommendations from friends whose opinions I trust on all things crusty, and who know the way that I like my punk-tinged death metal. Ever since, I've been nursing a pretty unhealthy interest in the band, who are my main source of punishing and heavy crust lately. Just the same way that Tullamore Dew has become my main source for bad breath and hangovers (it's really affordable and easy on the palate and doesn't taste like hairspray virtually at all).
Their latest offering, Sentenced to Life, has been spinning in my car for the last few months pretty much nonstop, to the point that my wife finally had to pull wife-rank and ask me to stop listening to it every time we got in the car. Truth be told, I can't get enough of the album; it's a relentless, crushing crust-fest the likes of which the world is seldom delighted to have. From the opening track (the unbelievably punishing "Feast of the Damned"), to the final moments of "Obey" (replete with a relatively shreddy but tasteful solo), the album relentlessly challenges you to keep pace. The title track comes with gang vocals the likes of which your favorite hardcore punk band would be shamed by, and the driving groove of "Home of the Grave" will have you pumping your fists on the drive out to your oddball mother's lakefront property (I can attest to that).
As far as my current top 10 for the year goes, Black Breath have certainly made an amazingly strong case for the "Album of the Year" slot, which is a coveted slot indeed on this pointless blog that nobody reads. But if you're looking for something that is going to stroke your D-boner to the point of full release (talking about ejaculating here!), Sentenced to Life is far and away your best bet of the year. And if you're at all interested in the live show, I just went and saw them live last night, and I can tell you that the performance is impeccable and crushing, and if you're like me, you'll end up looking like this:
It's hard to see, but I got caught on the old noggin with an errant denim vest spike (which I believe to be courtesy of the opening band's lead singer), as a result of some willy-nilly stage diving and a disregard for the fact that you're wearing a pointy piece of clothing while chunking yourself at an unsuspecting crowd enjoying the show. It doesn't look too bad, but I can assure you that a high forehead wound will weep blood for several hours after its infliction, making it impossible for you to go to bed lest you get blood all over your sleeping wife and your new-ish sheets which feel amazing in the heat of the Texas summer. To give scale, here's a close up of myself after I got home:
The walk to my car was particularly unnerving because if you're covered in face blood, people think you're about to get your rape and butcher on.
But that shouldn't derail your show-going ambitions, because despite the fact that I covered several people in the pit and up front in my blood (if you were there and you're reading this, you should really get tested), the show was amazing. So, what I'm really trying to tell you is this: "Listen to Black Breath and see them live."
Here are some dates for their current tour, and you should do yourself a favor and steal/Spotify/stream/(sarcastic laughter) purchase the album, because it will rock your ass and your balls. And if you disagree, you're clearly a stupid, boring dong.