CD Review

Broken – “Haoma”

By Marcus Pan

ArtridgeA very well made press kit arrives at my door this week. From a band calling themselves Broken, I open a nice labeled folder filled with the CD, band photo, lyrics sheet, bio and more. I would suggest a lot of the submitters to us take up a conversation with Broken that includes instructions on how to make a great press kit. The bio sheet tells me about Broken's successes thus far, such as the debut EP Tanjras and claims a "top 50" ranking on the nation's metal acts (I'm not sure who made this list however). This album, Haoma, was prepared for the Locobazooka Music Festival in Massachusetts, where the group shared the stage with Clutch, Damage Plan and All That Remains.

A bit bland, mushy wall of sound is a little uncouth with its make-up. Decently played for the most part combining elements of heavy metal and gothic rock, but there's no grounding force that keeps things together. The Novice, for one, has a great guitar riff during heavier moments, but it doesn't have any place to anchor its aggression what with percussion being monotonously bumping along rather than providing a heavy backbeat to match and join the heavy guitars. Maybe that's because it's the second of five "recorded live" tracks, which is strange with such a professional looking album. That could be what leads the tracks into a less-than-connected feel at the outset.

Interlude again goes completely off kilter soundwise – almost like a jam session with no monitors on the floor. The swirly movements of Jade's opening bars are well done – but I do wish the drummer would find a roll or two somewhere in his heart. Sage is the last of the 2004 recorded live tracks on the album and is by far the best of this whole set. One of the highlights of the track is that, while still not going balls out, Owen O'Mara's drumming provides us light tinkles and high hat hits that provide a nice flair for the track. Sage is easily the best so far on Haoma, and it's quite possible I might have to update my initial mushy/uncouth discussion from last paragraph. We shall see...

BrokenThe Root moves us into the older, non-live tracks of Haoma. Admittedly tighter in sound, Nick Barounis shows us what he can do with his voice. James Maltese' and/or Keith McGuire's guitars provide the backdrop for Nick's baritone, including a nice riff-vs-high-solo combination. Prana adds in their swirly goth element to the heavy grunge to interesting effect. And Owen finds his drum rolls! Also for the first time I hear some of Mike Grabowski's bass work, normally hidden behind the dual guitar attack.

Broken does a decent job of the heavy grunge and sometimes throws in some swirls. There may be a bit of continued maturity necessary and possibly cranking together Haoma's first five tracks in a one-day jamfest might not have been to their advantage. There's a lot of goth rock and metal outfits out there, so to achieve the noticeability Broken may need to excel in the overwhelmed genre might require a steady finesse, including mastering and production to help put them over the top. Otherwise and overall a good listen.

Contact Information:
Guru Project Inc.
Post: 22 Yerk Ave., Ronkonkoma, NY, 11779, USA
Phone: (631) 585-5380
Fax: (631) 525-5232