Today we have another slab of American Death Metal, to be more precise it's BROKEN HOPE I'm talking about. They formed in 1988 under the name CRYPT. The founding members of the band were Jeremy Wagner (Guitar), Joe Ptacek (Vocals) and Ryan Stanek (Drums). After adding a second guitar player and a bassist they changed their name into BROKEN HOPE, but things weren't all rosy red yet, as they had some problems with their newly added guitarist. These problems were solved when Brian Griffin replaced the troublemaker. Finally BROKEN HOPE had a line-up that was both stable and dedicated. Their second demo, "Swamped In Gore", was released by Grindcore Records and according to BROKEN HOPE they never got any money from that record, but at least they had spread their name to some extent. Fortunately for BROKEN HOPE, Metal Blade saw potential in them and later released their debut "The Bowels Of Repugnance".
As I never really liked any of the albums BROKEN HOPE made before "Loathing", I shall not claim this to be my favourite band. But after a friend of mine played "Loathing" to me, sometime in 1997, I realised that they'd finally started to make some good music. "Siamese Screams" opens "Loathing" in a good way, as it makes clear what to expect on the rest of the record. The blast beats are all over the place, the vocals are deep as hell and the riffs are always present. I would also like to mention the lyrics found on "Loathing". There is no doubt that these lyrics are quite sick, but they are also quite well written. Take "Siamese Screams" as an example, the lyrics here deal with two people born stuck together and at the end of the song they try to separate from each other with the help of knives. Their attempt fails and leaves them in a pool of blood. Quite out there I guess. BROKEN HOPE are not completely gore obsessed like CANNIBAL CORPSE, however, as they have lyrics about cloning, sex without condoms and how profoundly Jesus was raped before crucifixion.
Previously in the review I mentioned that the blast beats are all over the place, that's only half true. They are indeed an important part of BROKEN HOPE's music, but the breakdowns from blast to more groove orientated parts are as important as the blasting. Take a song like "Reunited" as an example, it starts slow, but it doesn't take long before some blasting drums increase the tempo. Throughout the whole song they vary the tempo, really letting each parts shine. That is what differs this BROKEN HOPE from that previous to "Loathing". The songs on "Loathing" have structure and sounds like they are thought true, rather than just hammered out while practicing together.
With the exception of "A Window To Hell" and "Deadly Embrace" there is only Death Metal found on loathing. The two "non" Death Metal songs found on "Loathing" are ambient tracks with no real value to me, though they aren't really bad either. After "A Window To Hell" follows one of the better songs of album, "Skin Is In". It's starts with a really good riff, getting you into headbanging mode at an instant. Some really nice slowdowns in this one, containing those chopped up riffs that are ideal headbanging material. I mention earlier on that they had a song about sex without using condoms, "Skin Is In" is that aforementioned song. This lyric could be used by those who try to inform people about the dangers of A.I.D.S, as BROKEN HOPE describes it a little more detailed than what most people are used to.
"He Was Raped" is the final song I want to highlight on "Loathing". This is one of the fastest songs on the album, but what's really good about it is the refrain, where, "He Was Raped", is growled over and over again, great stuff. Some really nice solos and overall intensity in this song and of course the lyrics are something for themselves, in this case is the grand raping of Jesus Christ himself.
There are some songs on "Loathing" that aren't as good as the rest, but there aren't any bad songs. My only real complaint with "Loathing" is the clean sound it has. In my ears it would have sounded better with a dirtier production and with a little more power as well. Fans of bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE, BEHEADED and such should give BROKEN HOPE a spin in their CD-players, as the chances are high that they're going to like what they're hearing. "Loathing" is in my opinion the best album BROKEN HOPE ever made, so check it out if it's Death Metal you're looking for. (Online May 31, 2005)