Heavy Breath - Muddy Life [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Heavy Breath

Muddy Life [EP] (2012)

Get Young Records

Few musicians over the age of fifteen are quick to cite Rage Against the Machine as an influence–let alone unironically, and with pride. But the young men of Heavy Breath, among CT's best kept secrets and one of hardcore's weirdest offerings, are nothing if not shameless. And when you add a few more potentially dubious, self-proclaimed influences to the mix–Refused, Every Time I Die, even Glassjaw–it's clear why these guys don't give a fuck what you think. Heavy Breath don't list such recognizable bands in its bio to seem familiar or accessible–anything but. These are not name drops, but notches in a belt of musical understanding and technical ability.

In the three songs off Muddy Life–the band's shortest and strongest release to date, not to discredit the excellent Ugly Americans and the murkier, A Clockwork Orange-inspired Synthemesc Dreams–Heavy Breath disassemble the best parts of its heroes and reconstruct a Frankenstein-like monster of aggressive, cerebral hardcore. It's like Rage without the adolescent rap obsession. It's like Refused without the fashionable affectation. It's like Converge–get this–with restraint.

The New Haven five-to-six-piece claim to "eat trends for breakfast" on its Twitter page. Muddy Life is anything but hip, unless doing your research and practicing your instrument became cool overnight and no one told me. More than eschewing trends, though, the band is adamantly anti-predictability. Just when you think you've got a barnstormer like "I'm a Motherfucking Weak Man" figured out, Kilian Appleby shifts into croony Daryl Palumbo mode and sings your skin into a nervous crawl. Just when you're ready to windmill behind the wheel on I-95, Chris Mala busts out a speed metal fill across his toms and makes you drive 10 MPH faster. The lesson: do your homework. In order to sound like anything new, you'd better know what came first.