While the one-man project Labored Breath is definitely in the "black metal" camp, even if tendrils of other extreme metal disciplines creep in through the cracks, it still seems to defy this classification: these intricate constructions of overlapping motifs and long-form song structures push at the boundaries of what feels achievable. Rather than crossing over into other subgenres, though, their debut album Dyspnea forges out on a different axis to create a belligerent and intense trail to lesser-tread territory in black metal —and uncomfortable truths lurking in our minds. In a sort of "trial by fire" mentality, we're premiering the track "Belie" now, which is a seven-minute dive into this labyrinthine work.

...

...

Much like wandering through a maze, by the time "Belie" finishes, remembering exactly how you got there is surprisingly tricky. The first few minutes are an especially punishing whirlwind that gleefully hurls out visceral riffs and obliviating bridges, but that proves to only be the first act: a forceful screed from what sounds like a mad prophet cues up an atmospheric bridge and an accompanying ceremony. Answering the oracle comes a deranged chorus upon a bed of synthesizers, opening up a gateway to decidedly melodic riffing to cap things off.

Solo acts offer a unique perspective on this kind of music: a single mind behind many hands can create towering structures that don't suffer from misinterpretation or diverging vision. Saying that Dyspnea "shifts gears" often would be vastly underselling the dynamic structures within it; it's more like peering into the near-infinite clockwork of a madman's automata. That is, perhaps, accurate to what's going on in this album: Labored Breath intends to capture the feeling of certain death, and it does so in insanity-tempting detail.

From the artist:

Labored Breath is my take on punishing black metal. I always wanted to release a "solo" record in an attempt to capture 100% my output of music - from start to finish. Inspirations range from plenty of Death Metal & USBM, but mainly French and Icelandic black metal. The name Labored Breath comes from the notion that upon extreme exhaustion and fatigue while approaching death, breath often becomes labored. Gasping for air in an attempt to survive while the imminent fate of slipping into the void is fast approaching, and there's nothing one can do about it.

The album title Dyspnea is literally the medical definition for having labored breath. As it was also written during a period of pandemic when one of the primary symptoms is to have labored breath, it felt even more fitting. The album is meant to be a descent into the loss of self while also recognizing the insignificance of life as we know it - almost the most extreme form of ego death and psychosis intertwined. Basically becoming entirely untethered from reality as the mind slips further and further into madness, or even possibly the very precipice from whence death takes us? The song titles and lyrics themselves are meant to reflect a response to our particular and individual experiences related to that very moment. For instance, "Hypoesthesia" is the loss of sensation, but the lyrics stem from recognizing our arrogance and irrelevance in the grand scheme of cosmic order as we know it - while also in a way being the absolute foundation and cornerstone of witnessing that order and going completely numb to the experience, both physically and mentally.

...

Dyspnea releases April 2nd on Sentient Ruin Laboratories.

...