Death Breath - Stinking Up The Night - Relapse Records 2006
Running Time: 33:59
You just know when a band names a song after themselves - much less the lead track from their first album -, the shit better be tasty as a virgin's entrails and twice as fresh. Thankfully, Death Breath (and "Death Breath") charges out of Sweden's sphincter, a hurtling, rampaging ball of early Eurodeath in the vein of Dismember and Nihilist. More on the Nihilist connection later, but suffice it to say that the bridge is built for banging, the riff beneath the solo is total Autopsy worship, and Robert Pehrsson's vocals ever as bile-filled and garbled as material like this demands. More than likely as a tribute to Dismember's contribution to the genre as a whole, Fred Estby lends a scream to the end of "Death Breath", which rips into the rapid-fire delivery of "Chopping Spree". Less gallop and more full-bore run, amuck with sloppy drumwork and shit production that actually seems to fit, this isn't some newfangled glance back at retro-death. Death Breath is comprised of those who helped create the thing in the first damn place. Case in point, the guest vocalists featured herein. Scott Carlson (Repulsion) pukes out his lungbutter on "Chopping Block" amid a sewerful of utterly tossed-off leads that still manage to burst with black fire. Nicke Andersson (there's your Nihilist connection, kids) gets a chance to revisit his early days on Stinking Up The Night, blasting away, but locking into a hammering groove equally as often, as on "Heading For Decapitation". The guttural growl of Jorgen Sandstrom (Grave) has aged like a fine cadaver over the years, and makes its first appearance here. The early Grave albums were among my first experiences with death metal, much less that of the Swedish variety, so Sandstrom will always hold a place in my cankered heart. Magnus Hedquist's bass is gutwrenchingly lo-fi, but rumbles like a .50 caliber going off in a pissbucket, which is just how it should sound on the sluggish dive into dementia that leads off "Dragged Through The Mud". This one finds Pehrsson retaking the vocal porcelain throne, and it's nice that Death Breath slowed things down a bit for "Dragged Through The Mud", which ends with a stuttering, jerky march of reanimated corpses before the final speedfreak solo and runthrough of the last verse. Almost Hellhammering in its spasmodic shifts between whirlwind oldschool death and pummeling quickstyle groove, "Coffins Of The Unembalmed Dead" sees Scott Carlson returning to the mic just before "A Morbid Mind", the first of two Lovecraft-based tunes to be found on Stinking... . You know, for awhile in the '80s, everyone had a Lovecraft song. Metallica had two, and Andersson's Entombed had "Stranger Aeons", but those don't even scratch the surface of the depths to which good old H.P. was lyrically fellated in the years when death was freeing itself from the bonds of thrash. Nicke doing double duty in Death Breath (drums, guitars) permits him to flail out a few leads of his own, and bolster the solo sections in the process. In "Reduced To Ashes", Magnus' bass sounds like it was recorded in a coffin inside a crypt (of rays, perhaps?) with the only mic left outside in a rainstorm. Strangely, it works and works well. You just fucking know a solo's got to kill when the vocalist (Pehrsson) screams "Go!" before the solo. 'Nuff said. "Christ All Fucking Mighty" rocks with a double-time suicide stomp, changing time for a few lines, then back again. Death Breath took the "kitchen sink approach" with this song, cramming as many riffs as inhumanely possible up this song's ass and twisting, locking the whole stinking heap into place. Sandstrom takes the mic again for "Flabby Little Things From Beyond", clearly enjoying his trip back in time. It boggles the mind to comprehend the amount of booze undoubtedly swum through during the making of this record, which sounds as if recorded in one take, two at the most. A killer groove in the chorus of "Flabby..." turns into blistering string scrapes at the end of "Flabby...", and slips into the fluid instrumental of the finale, "Cthulhu Fthagn!". Awash in black tar and Cyclopean seascapes, this second Lovecraft reference concludes in indecipherable invocations, a fitting coda to the Hellish tone of the album.
It's a fine mess Death Breath has gotten us into with Stinking Up The Night. Wallow, bitches, wallow.