Breathless - _Thrashumancy_
(Xtreem Music, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8 out of 10)
Before we delve deep into Breathless' debut record _Thrashumancy_, let us discuss facts. Breathless should not be confused with the other four bands of the same name. This is not the Thai gothic band, nor the German or Belgian heavy metal band also sharing the same title. This is the Spanish Breathless, who up until this year only had a demo to their name. I feel this album takes a bit of rest before grasping the full implications. There are good albums and then there are great ones. There are also albums that could be either depending on the level of self awareness present. Breathless has either managed to pull off the greatest thrash throwback in recent years or the band is really time travelers just trying to carve out an existence in 2011. Either one is deserving of attention.

The cover for _Thrashumancy_ could very well take up its own article. It is a classic metal illustration depicting an improbable scene full of symbolism and metaphor. The main figures are a priest holding a chained collar, connected to the neck of a submissive and agonized businessman. The priest's left hand morphs into a tree with budding dollar bills floating into the wind. The priest looks like a cross between Iron Maiden's Eddie and Rev. Henry Kane from Anthrax's _Among the Living_ cover. The two present themselves to the backdrop of a dreary shore with a decayed skyline in the background. The cityscape boasts a nuclear generator pouring black clouds into the sky while barrels of toxic waste dot the sea. There is a storm present as a flock of doves encircle crashing lightning. The lightning is important, as it provides a highlighted space for the band's razor sharp logo. I almost can't bring myself to listen to the album as the cover is so brilliantly bizarre, I do not want to ruin the feeling with mediocre music. But as I soon find out, the album opens with crashing ocean waves and seagulls crying before fading into a storm and the climatic sounds of a tanker about to shipwreck. The subsequent opening of "Nuclear Seas" makes my face brighten. Holy shit. It's going to be a long night.

The thrash played by Breathless is not the smooth and balanced sound heard in the Metallica or Testament records. Breathless' thrash is an asymmetrical frenzy more closely related to the European bands of the same era. Kreator, Coroner and England's Onslaught are all listed as influences across various blogs. Eduardo Moreno's vocals are also frighteningly similar to Gwar's Oderus Urungus; it is hard not to imagine rubber suited monsters playing each of the songs. Lyrically, _Thrashumancy_ explores issues of woe ranging from societal ills, political and religious criticism or internal struggle. _Thrashumancy_ is less a record released in 2011 and more of the most underrated thrash band of the mid '80s. From start to finish, Breathless brings a record full of misdirected emotions and slightly thin metaphors. This is not a bad thing, as it not only satirizes the style but pays tribute to it in every form and fashion.

The album starts at the top of a hill before sending the listener careering down a vertical obstacle course of destruction and danger. Songs are hinged on headbanging riffs and the unrelenting vocals which rain down like a waterfall -- made of acid. If one is looking for variety other than high octane drag races lasting three to four minutes, they may be disappointed. What Breathless lacks in variety they make up for with a heart the size of the motherfucking sun. _Thrashumancy_ is so comfortable in their presentation, each song comes off as exercises in precision. By the end of the album's victory lap "Deadly Sessions", you can almost hear the dull roar of a crowd going wild.

While thrash metal has had some evolutionary developments, the majority of the style rests close to its birthplace. It is a town where few people move away after highschool and spend their days reminiscing about the past. _Thrashumancy_ does not try to innovate, rather celebrate thrash's birthplace with a six pack of beer and acid washed jeans. Breathless not only nails the sound but the style, imagery and attitude which made the early years so kickass. I do not know if this was intentional, but bravo fine sirs. Bravo.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/breathlessarras

(article published 28/3/2011)


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