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Post-Breakup Breach Highlights Playlist, by Cryogenic Husk

Breach is one of my all-time favorite bands, ever. The Swedish hardcore legends deftly spliced various genres (hardcore, metal, noise rock, experimental, etc.) with a unique style that often employed a multi-layered approach to interplay between instruments. This buried dark melodies within dense riffs, just barely beneath the surface to be noticeable, while remaining ephemeral enough leave you wanting more.

Sadly, the band broke up in 2001, just after releasing their most progressive and diverse record, Kollapse. The writing was on the wall, though. That album was so unusual—especially amidst their discography—featuring a number of purely instrumental songs, some classic Breach-styled dark metallic hardcore numbers, and a couple of bizarro rock deviations. The listener could almost perceive the band splintering into different directions while writing the songs for the album. (For the sake of completeness, I'll note that the band did play one reunion show in 2007, but it was just a one-off and they trashed all of their equipment onstage, in fine form.)

I did manage to interview the band in either 2000 or 2001, while I was in college. I'll try to dig that interview up. It was a little sad and a little hilarious: at the time, Kollapse was just about to be released, but I was asking the majority of the questions about their new-to-me EP, Godbox (hell, the thing was new to pretty much everyone). I believe it was Anders Ekström that I interviewed, and he was always trying to steer the conversation towards Kollapse, but this was in the fledgling days of music information propagating on the internet, so news traveled much slower. But, I digress...

There hasn't been a band to fill the shoes left by Breach. So, I've made this playlist that touches on most all of the post-breakup Breach material—bands that members went on to play in, as well as albums that members guest performed on—broken up by four songs from each of Breach's definitive releases (It's Me God, Venom, Godbox, and Kollapse). If you miss their dark, brooding, metallic hardcore amalgamation as much as I do, hopefully this will provide some solace (or at least ease the pain momentarily)...

  1. Neveres, "Silence, Sound"
  2. Neveres, "Repent"
  3. Breach, "Hardly Longer Reality"
  4. Raised Fist, "Time Will Let You Go, All Alone, I Break"
  5. Breach, "Path of Conscious"
  6. Switchblade, "5:12"
  7. Breach, "Centre"
  8. The Ocean, "Stenian (Mount Sorrow)"
  9. Breach, "Lost Crew"
  10. The Bear Quartet, "Least Loved (of the Unloved)"
  11. The Beart Quartet, "Northern"
  12. NEI, "Faster and Faster"
  13. The Old Wind, "The Old Wind" (demo)
  14. The Old Wind, "In Fields" (demo)

DOWNLOAD: Post-Breakup Breach Highlights Playlist, by Cryogenic Husk (MediaFire)

Neveres, "Silence, Sound" and "Repent," from Aureoles and Backbites (2003)

This band was sort of a "failure to launch" situation. Featuring Breach drummer Tomas Turunen, and brief guest vocals from Breach frontman Tomas Hallbom, the eight-song album from Neveres, titled Aureoles and Backbites, was originally supposed to have come out in 2003, but that never happened, apparently due to money issues. Anyway, imagine if Breach was mixed with a little Unsane-styled noise rock and you're pretty close to what this sounds like.

Breach, "Hardly Longer Reality," from Godbox (Chrome Saint Magnus, 2000)

Raised Fist, "Time Will Let You Go, All Alone, I Break," from Sound of the Republic (Burning Heart, 2006)

Fellow Swedes Raised Fist seem an odd match for Breach vocalist Tomas to sing on. Typically more fast and traditional with their brand of metallic hardcore (newer records being even more vanilla), you might think "meh" upon first glance, but give it a chance. For starters, it's probably the slowest, most plodding song Raised Fist have done—what better to have Tomas meld his style with? Secondly, unlike most guest vocal spots that make a quick appearance and are gone, Tomas sings the entire song. Only during the chorus does Raised Fist singer Alexander Hagman back up the shouts with his own (and in a slight bridge part after the chorus), otherwise Tomas is running the show. Tie it all together with some somber melodies (a distant cousin to Breach's own), and this is a great song.

Breach, "Path of Conscious," from Venom (Burning Heart/Relapse, 1999)

Switchblade, "5:12," from Switchblade (Trust No One, 2003)

Another Swedish band that has a close connection with Breach, both in sound and in personnel. Dirgy, slow-moving, metallic post-rock that is instrumental and building throughout the course of the song. The band worked closely with Breach guitarist Anders Ekström, who also recorded four early releases for the band (I absolutely love the bass tone on this recording). In a nutshell, this sounds like an instrumental version of Breach played at half-speed.

Breach, "Centre," from It's Me God (Burning Heart, 1997)

The Ocean, "Stenian (Mount Sorrow)," from Precambrian (Metal Blade, 2007)

Although Tomas Hallbom did lay down some vocals on the previous record from The Ocean (2006's Aeolian), I found that the more melancholic stylings of his vocal contribution on this track represented his energy more (and what it has in common with the band).

Breach, "Lost Crew," from Kollapse (Burning Heart, 2001)

The Bear Quartet, "Least Loved (of the Unloved)" and "Northern," from 89 (Adrian/Diskret Förlag, 2009)

Drummer Jejo Perkovic, who performed on Breach's mind-blowing Venom (arguably their introduction to a wider audience in early '99), also played in The Bear Quartet at the time (and ever since). While his time in Breach was short-lived, however impactful, you can hear some of the same unique skill on display here. Sounding like a mix of Queens of the Stone Age meets Muse, albeit with some fun double bass sections, The Bear Quartet seems to be relatively unknown outside of their native Sweden. "Least Loved (of the Unloved)" tosses in some Black Sabbath riffs, while "Northern" leans a little heavier on the melodicism of Muse—both are pulled from their 2009 album 89, each providing a fun listen.

NEI, "Faster and Faster," from New Agenda (National, 2009)

Featuring Breach drummer Tomas Turunen and guitarist Anders Ekström, this band is a cool mix of '60s rock, noise, and indie/punk. It brings to mind The Hives and Queens of the Stone Age, with vocals similar to the "Lost Crew" track featured earlier. This track is from the band's album New Agenda, that came out in 2009.

The Old Wind, "The Old Wind" and "In Fields," from 2011 Demo (2011)

From a scientific perspective, this is the most genetically similar band to Breach. This is singer Tomas Hallbom's new project. There's little info on it, but the material is extremely strong. Dark, slow to midpaced metallic hardcore with a dense atmosphere that is incredibly bleak. What makes me curious is that back in 2006 Hallbom mentioned in an interview that he had a new band called Centre that was "a three-guy band playing three-chord rock, just hard and straight on, with a little dark punk attitude." They were set to record a seven-song release that never happened. Was that band something completely different from The Old Wind? I guess some things will remain a mystery... Either way, the quality is low, they're demos, so don't be picky. The Old Wind has since released their first album, Feast on Your Gone, and are close to completing the second, so I'm very excited to check it out.

The other most closely related post-Breach act would be Terra Tenebrosa, who took the route of darkened post-metal/sludge with creepy results.

For the absolute completists out there, yes, there were/are a couple of other bands that shared members with Breach. But, in my honest opinion, they were either inconsequential or too small of a blip on the radar for inclusion (i.e. The End Will be Kicks, Him Kerosene). Cheers!

DOWNLOAD: Post-Breakup Breach Highlights Playlist, by Cryogenic Husk (MediaFire)

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