Sunday 31 October 2021

Breath - Primeval Transmissions

Labels: Desert Records

Formats: CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 05 Feb 2021


1. Evocation

2. Dwarka

3. Observer

4. Battle For Harmonic Balance_ Halls Of Amenti

5. Evocation (reprise)

I'm still working my way through my inbox. I have two weeks off from the day job at the end of November, so hope to fully get on top of it then. I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime though and acting on impulse, I'm finally writing about the debut record from Portland, Oregon (US) bass/drum duo Breath. They released Primeval Transmissions via Desert Records back in February. They play meditative yet heavy doom. I'm a little late to this but I hope you check the album out and enjoy it.

The day is ending as it started, with falling rain and cold autumnal feels. Hopefully, the tones of Breath can warm us all up. The duo paints a bluesy, groovy picture with a mix of lumbering bass and actually quite technical percussion from Steven O’Kelly and Ian Caton respectively on album opener ‘Evocation’. The vocals are clean and deep in delivery. Breath is very much an instrument-led duo, which is fine by me. To be honest, the changing of the clocks today has completely thrown me as I think It’s later than it is, so forgive me if this review is slightly odd. That being said, this is definitely the right kind of music to be listening to in this time addled state. ‘Dwarka’ is a fourteen minute plus march to the death that gathers up everything that makes Breath’s sound so organic and rich. 

It is Halloween in the UK this evening, though something tells me that trick or treating will be off given the frightful weather outside. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about that living in a secluded block of flats. If I was in a detached dwelling though, I’d be playing ‘Observer’ through hidden speakers outside the front of my house, just to add to the menacing feel of the evening. I’m not saying that Breath are trying to be scary or anything but this kind of slow doom provides adequate ambience, while not being overtly horrifying. Far from it in fact, this is amongst some of the nicest sounding blues-laden doom you’ll hear all year. The duo becomes a trio for this song only, thanks to the addition of electric guitar from Rob Wrong.

Up until now Breath have been all about catchy, one word song titles. That ends with the rumbling beginnings of ‘Battle For Harmonic Balance _ Halls Of Amenti’ though and what you get here is some subtle occult doom given the bass/drum treatment. They’re influenced by bands like Om, Grails, Yob and Sleep, and you can hear elements of all four within their music. That’s no bad thing at all and for somebody who’s been leaning more towards slower tones of late, this release is perfect throughout. 

Breath close out proceedings with ‘Evocation (reprise)’, which is brief in comparison to the previous song. It’s instrumental warmth presides over everything and makes it the perfect way to end the record. It reminds me of the improvisational, intelligent bands I was witness to in Leeds (the closest city to me in the UK), when I frequently turned up suited and booted (literally, as I worked office jobs there) to gigs in the city. Bands like Khuda and any bands that featured my favourite bassist, P Priest.  

The final half of that last paragraph probably means nothing unless you also lived in and/or went to gigs in Leeds over years gone by. Anyway, Breath are brilliant. The duo doesn’t overdo things and their lees-is-more approach to doom pulls them closer to the traditional beginnings of the genre. Fantastic and I’m sorry for leaving this review for so long.

You can stream 'Primeval Transmissions' and buy it on all formats below:-

Breath -

Desert Records -

No comments:

Post a Comment