Tuesday 23 February 2010

Interview with Jamie Byrum of Black Breath

Taking their name from a Repulsion track and hailing out of Seattle, Black Breath play something as close to real metal as it gets these days. Touching on black, death, thrash, hardcore, d-beat, and influenced by the likes of Bathory, Poison Idea, Celtic Frost, Sacrilege, Anti-Cimex and Discharge, it’s a sound worth getting excited about. I caught up with master of battery, Jamie Byrum, for Vice, and asked him a few brief questions.

Your sound is ferocious. It’s reminiscent of the great forefathers of metal and d-beat. What drew you to this sound? Was it a reaction against the plastic thrash revival of the last decade?
Jamie Byrum: Not so much. I don’t think any of us pay much attention to any kind of retro thrash scene. It’s all very humorous and hard to take seriously. The thrash/death scene of the late 90s/early 00s was much cooler with bands like Gehennah, Bewitched, Defleshed, Witchery, The Crown, etc. The shit kids play now is a fucking joke. We started this band to be hard as hell. End of story.

Right on. How do you see the metal scene compared with, say, this time ten years ago?
It seems that creativity is at an all-time low. Bands seem to focus too hard on emulating their idols and lose track of just writing good songs for the fuck of it. Most of the bands that are at the “forefront” of metal currently were garbage ten years ago, and are garbage today.

Ha ha, agreed. So, what other bands are you guys keeping an eye on at the moment?
Hail of Bullets, Dismember, The Devils Blood, Warcry, Watain, Death Breath, Sonic Ritual, Iron Age, etc. I’m sure there’s more, but these are just some of my picks.

Are you psyched about the upcoming Burzum record?
The White God (now called Belus, btw)? Don’t fucking care. Support good bands, not Nazis.

Finally, would just like to ask you guys where the new year/decade is taking yourselves?
Our full-length, Heavy Breathing, will be coming out in March on Southern Lord. Ten tracks recorded by Kurt Ballou at Godcity – much heavier, much faster. We will touring the US for it in the spring and can hopefully make it to Europe towards the end of the year. My fingers are crossed.

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