Review Summary: An excellent album from one of the most under appreciated bands of the last decade.
Fans of The Ocean
will probably recognize vocalist Tomas Hallbom’s described “Scandivian hollering” from the albums Aeolian and Precambrian. His voice is perfectly suited to the ardent riffing of his fellow band mates, just abrasive enough to be menacing while being clear enough you can usually understand him without it being overly difficult.
Falling somewhere between Converge
and Black Sabbath
, Breach relies on quick pacing and a somewhat simple approach to songwriting. The majority of the songs rumble along without becoming exceedingly technical or masturbatory while remaining very precise. I recall seeing one review describing it as Breach taking you into a dark room only to run off with the light, which is pretty accurate considering there is a foreboding sense of ominous dread throughout the album’s run time. In spite of this it’s easy to tell they’re enjoying themselves considering 'Helldrivers' starts the album with a drum intro and a belch.
The drumming itself is excellent, commanding songs like 'Diablo' and 'Black Sabbath' giving them an almost funky beat while the strings repeat catchy thundering riffs, try not to bang your head too hard. The majority of the songs aren’t quite as catchy as those two lacking the distinctive hooks that set them apart. That’s not to say the rest aren’t good since it’s likely you’ll enjoy every minute of energetic playing Breach have to offer. 'Common Day' is very reminiscent of something off 'We Are the Romans' era Botch
which is ironic since it was released around the same time. Tracks like 'Ghee', 'Pleasuredome' and 'Path of Conscience' fly along at a blistering pace with frenetic drumming and solid riffs.
There are quite a few instrumental tracks which to me indicates the confidence they have in their songwriting, not requiring a vocal hook or obscure lyrics to keep your attention. That's not to say that the lyrics are not well written, creepy or odd. Murder pertains to its title very accurately while the lyrics fit the mood perfectly, "Hide the proof/Kill the witness/No trace of evidence/Commit the deadly sin/Oh Lord, this is grace." While songs like Pleasuredome tell a rather twisted tale of suffering,"Waking up/Finding your dead wife beside you/Receiving a letter in the mail/You are dying of a deadly disease." Hallbom is not afraid to take a turn down a dark alley and the album is better for it.
It’s quite subtle but beneath the layering of guitars and bass there is a very intricate base for every song on here. Repeated listens provide more insight to the clever structures and interweaving of instrumentation. If you like most of the hardcore acts that were around during that time you’ll likely find something to love about Breach. They traverse a line between addictive riffs, violence and speed and they do it brilliantly.