When you take a band name of Labored Breath and combine it with a title of Dyspnea, meaning “a symptom, predicts mortality and is a proxy for underlying diseases, most often of heart and lung” you know that this offering is going to be dark and sinister to the extreme.
Solo musician, JK may come from the San Francisco Bay Area but this extreme is not the Thrash that is associated with the area but takes the chronic depressive Black Metal route. Combining the violence and negativity of French Black Metal along with the atmospherics of Icelandic Black Metal to create something that is as raw and intense as they come.
The debut album is a 36-minute bludgeoning and crippling form of extreme that doesn’t let up from the moment you press play. From the opening feedback-laden guitars to the battering drum and a blood-curdling vocal, JK performs it all to such a disturbing level. The result is crushing and terrifying as the grating riffs are unapologetic and relentless, paving the way for the rest of this shattering sound.
The atmospherics are something to behold as the freezing howl whisks away in the background transporting you to a barren frozen wasteland, full of loneliness, hopelessness and despair. If you are listening to this alone in the dark, you may need to occasionally remind yourself that this is a very impressive musicality and you are not on the verge of your demise.
As the five-track album progresses you will feel that impending and unnerving emptiness get deeper and more intense with every passing moment in what can only be described as an out-of-body experience.
Dyspnea is something that has to be experienced to be believed as this raw example of Black Metal reaches parts of you that most albums never get near to. I would urge any person who is into Black Metal to give this a listen, you will not believe what you hear. The combination of harrowing atmospherics and crushingly despairing Black Metal results in a bleak and brilliant album.
Dyspnea will be released Friday, April 2nd 2021 via Sentient Ruin Industries.