Maligned since its inception, Death ‘n Roll has moved far beyond the principal detraction aimed its way. The idea of bands selling more records by shifting gears to rockier foundations underpinning gutturals and dark-wave thematics is more than just a little crazy. Some twenty-five years or more after the initial phenomenon bands that make a creative choice in the DnR direction can scarcely be seen to be cashing in. The form at its best is damn fun and damn heavy.
Enter Hamburg’s Breathe Your Last.
An established and particular sound helmed by the somewhat unique stylings of vocalist Javi Garcia. Garcia is blessed with a growl that is sickened, phlegmatic, and expressive. It really stands out from the noise. Certainly possessed of an individuality that serves the band well as an identifiable entity in the sea of excellent Death Metal releases that continues to wash over us in 2022.
The opening track “Frail” has a classic ominous Metal intro. Afterward, I’m immediately struck by the quality of the bass tone. The mix is well-balanced, as “Enemy” takes the pace, urgency, and riffing up another notch, giving the album a prompt feeling of progression between tracks – something that can easily be an art form lost to lesser bands.
The subtle change-ups within the guitar structures afford the listener additional interest where simple repetition could easily have weakened some of these tunes. The d-beat of “Black Heart” is catchy as hell. Rocking along into a well-written, addictive riff-a-thon. Some great vocal phrasing. Death n Roll lead breaks. “Rotting” is another highlight.
The shout-along backups, whilst being a defining feature of Breathe Your Last do become a little too much at times. And I found the chorus of “Z-Apocalypse” to be a little on the nose, but subsequent listens framed it better even if that nagging sense remained.
I had the chance to chat with my mate and Breathe Your Last drummer Kaden Fletcher a while back, in which we discuss the album, Death Metal, getting back to touring, and the Metal scenes in both Germany and Australia. An enjoyable and informative discussion, indeed. Check it out below, and grab yourself a copy of “Apocalypse,” out July 1st.