A Breath Before Surfacing
Death is Swallowed in Victory

*thwack* *thud* *sswack* *thwack* Excuse me, I was just beating a dead horse. I figured if I caught it on tape, maybe it could land me a record deal. It’s really no different than Arizona’s A Breath Before Surfacing (ABBS) – mish-mashing At the Gates riffs with excessive blasting, breakdowns, death grunts and growls with a few hardcore inspired shouts that we’ve heard beaten mercilessly into the ground as of late.

I’m not gonna spend much time here as there really isn’t that much to say. Following closely to another Arizona band, Job For A Cowboy (among a slew of others from abroad), ABBS offer nothing new to the field of deathcore. Now, I’ve stated before that I’m not really a stickler on originality, and I do love me a band that can rip off At the Gates riffs and do it well, but when you’re playing a style that every 3rd band getting a record deal is also playing, you better damn well bring the goods. There better be some outstanding hooks and killer riffs. Unfortunately here, ABBS do not have these things. The songs are all interchangeable, as are the riffs, breakdowns, etc. It’s quite tiresome really. Death is Swallowed in Victory, as you could probably guess, was not an enjoyable listen – it was a trial in patience and endurance of the mediocre.

Now, I’m not saying that ABBS cannot play, because they can. The evidence of this is all over the album – they have some chops. A good example of this (and perhaps a moment that I did quite enjoy) came about 2/3 of the way through “Ray Road”, where the ruckus dies down to really let shine a great and soulful sounding clean guitar solo. Actually, most of the solos are pretty damn good. It’s just a shame that they’re surrounded by such lackluster elements and songwriting.

Though the thing I enjoyed most about this album had to be the promo sleeve accompanying the album – it reads as follows: “Tucson, AZ’s A Breath Before Surfacing have exploded onto the underground metal scene with a new take on the Gothenburg metal sound that is turning the heads of metal fans all over the country. With ‘Death is Swallowed in Victory’, A Breath Before Surfacing are giving notice to the metal community that it’s time fore a change and they are nominating themselves to lead the movement. With non-stop touring planned for 2008, the band are determined to convert the masses with their brutal version of a metal movement.” This made me simultaneously roll my eyes and laugh hysterically. It also states that ABBS will impress fans of Job For a Cowboy, The Faceless and The Red Chord – that says it all.

Now, back to that dead horse.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
October 5th, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    lol beating a dead horse is a ed gein song, anyways this band doesn’t breakdown all the time, though more breakdowns would have made this even sweeter. they also sound more like Belay My Last then the bands that the promo sheet states.

  2. Commented by: Desperado

    Funny review dude.So true unfortunately.

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