BROKEN HOPE – Mutilated And Assimilated

Written by on 2018-02-05

What makes a good album? It’s a question that needs to be clearly asked because the more I learn, I read, I listen and I review, the more that aspect of music troubles me. Are there objective criteria which allow the reviewer to give a standard to use in order to give a good evaluation of what we listen to before putting out an opinion?

The answer may not be as simple as we think. When we see people laud MAYHEM despite a production always more disgusting, that THEORY OF A DEADMAN stayed at the top of the US charts despite a complete lack of writing skills or that CLAUDIO CAPEO (don’t look for it, your ears would not survive) was among the 5 top selling records in France, it becomes clear that what is good is entirely subjective.

Except that no, it’s not that simple. Especially when you’re listening to “Mutilated And Assimilated” by the American band BROKEN HOPE.

BROKEN HOPE Mutilated Assimilated Album Cover

Released on 23/06/2017 on Century Media

Links :

Tracklist :

01. The Meek Shall Inherit Shit
02. The Bunker
03. Mutilated and Assimilated
04. Outback Incest Clan
05. Malicious Meatholes
06. Blast Frozen
07. The Necropants
08. The Carrion Eaters
09. Russian Sleep Experiment
10. Hell’s Handpuppets
11. Beneath Antarctic Ice
12. Swamped-In Gorehog (S.I.G. 25th Anniversary Tribute)

Line-up :

Damian “Tom” Leski (Growl)
Matt Szlachta (Lead Guitar)
Jeremy Wagner (Rhythm Guitar)
Diego Soria (Bass)
Mike Miczek (Drums)


When you want to destroy everything, there's nothing like classics

Whoever follows the radio a little bit, knows that brutal death and I are two separate entitites. To be fair, that style does not bore me as much as black metal or monochord deathcore like EMMURE but apart from the biggest name of the genre, CANNIBAL CORPSE, which I appreciate in small doses, I’ve never felt anything special for it. Therefore, it’s with a gentle naivety that I went out and listen to that record.

And I was genuinely surprised when I realized that, the first time, I blasted through “Mutilated And Assimilated” in just one seating. And the more I listened to it, the better it got. So now, you’ll tell me: “Well, you see Gus, you liked it and you say it’s good. So it’s all subjective.” To which I answer “Calm down kiddo, and read until the end.”

Because yes, I really did enjoy this record. Instead of the boring technical demonstration which is what brutal death is usually about, BROKEN HOPE prefers to use heavy riffs, the kind that just crushes the listener like a tank track. A violent rhythm performed by some huge beam punches is here to break some necks. And all of it is topped by a deep growled voice which we, fortunately, cannot understand. Yes, I mean that “fortunately” because the lyrics are… let’s say appropriate for the genre. It would be lying to say that the Americans go easy on us, because we get 40 minutes of unadulterated brutality and groovy monolithic death metal.

Except that this is the first impression from a non-fan. Because looking at it from a closer perspective, that doesn’t make the record good, it just means that I connected with it. So now, let’s look at it from a technical standpoint.

BROKEN HOPE Jeremy Wagner

First of all, the production, done by Jeremy Wagner himself. The sound mix is impeccable. Behind every track you can feel how important that specific sound is to the musician. Everything is balanced to the note, which allows us to understand in a second who does what and its purpose. So we get hit by the entire experience of a band who knows where it’s going. That allows us to feel how coherent everything is there. The production makes the album cohesive and works perfectly.

Now let’s talk about the writing, maybe the only real issue of the album. While looking to make “Mutilated And Assimilated” homogenous at all cost, BROKEN HOPE loses its spontaneity. While listening to it, it becomes clear that we have to rely on the interludes to understand that we’ve changed tracks. A couple of them put aside, the songs are not really memorable. However, as a whole, the album is intelligent enough to be listened again and allow us to notice the elements we missed before, and there will be some, trust me. The result is a bit more mixed that before.

When it comes to the style, the album is not a revolution in brutal death but it never was the point. The lyrics are clearly what you expect: sex, horror, death and sound exactly the way you think they do. They always leave you with the feeling of uneasiness like “he didn’t just say that, did he?” mixed with a feeling of badass transgression. It’s an expected mix of speed, double kick, blast beats (not to pervasive, so we can breathe) and a growl in the standards of American death metal. Depending on what you’re looking for, you may find it there.

If we sum everything up, what can we say? If you’re looking for a new classic, which redefines brutal death metal and that anything else bores you, don’t bother. If you want to discover the genre, go ahead, it’s perfect for you. Finally, if you’re a hardcore fan of it and that you’re looking for a solid release which oozes passion, determination and love for death metal, it’s a good fix.

Finally, what makes a record good? I still don’t know. It’s a mix of expectations, feeling and qualities inherent to each genre. At its core “Mutilated And Assimilated” is good. After a thirty years long career, the work put in by Jeremy Wagner’s band hits all the right stops without looking to redefine everything. And since objectivity has its limits, subjectively, it’s a good discovery that I do not regret listening to and that I honestly recommend. 40 generous minutes, for a band that’s not done surprising us.

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