Breach Venom

It remarkable (and rare) when a band can so blatantly wear their influences on their sleeves, yet still create something truly exceptional. Much like Isis did with the Mosquito Control EP (before expanding beyond those confines with The Red Sea), Breach has embraced the metal gods known as Neurosis and found a way to make that sound their own. While Isis mixed in loads of Godflesh and a healthy dose of Earth, Breach utilises some of the more rocking aspects of the noise genre to help establish their sound. Although accusing Breach of jumping on any bandwagons may be premature - they've been slugging it out in their native Sweden for seven years, in the process releasing a slew of releases that have seen them grow beyond their metal/hardcore origins. While 1997's It's Me God showed glimpses of Breach's potential, Venom is just what the title implies: slow, insidious and tainted. Venom combines the atmospherics and tribal rhythms of Neurosis with a flair for more up-tempo indie/noise rock moments, multiple drummers and in the process totally abandons the artistic, tranquil moments Neurosis mine with such ease. Instead, concentrating on eerie dynamics and tension inducing build-ups to add contrast to their oppressive sound. While songs become irrelevant on works like this - where the whole needs to be digested, rather than nibbling on individual songs - Breach do have some standout tracks, notably the opening "Helldrivers," "Hell Is My Witness" and "Diablo." While Venom is a good bordering on great album, Breach do tread a little too close to Neurosis territory, compensating with an exuberance that surpasses all but a few. (Relapse)