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Broken Hope
Grotesque Blessings
April 2002
Released: 1999, Martyr
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Aaahhh…the sweet sounds of crushing death! It seems like I reviewed a lot of mellower stuff lately so I thought I would tackle this beast! I was surprised that no one had reviewed a BH CD yet here at Metal-Rules.com.



BH is a classic long-running classic death metal band. They have five CD’s and are celebrating what I believe is their 10th anniversary this year. BH made a name for themselves in 1993 with their Bowels of Repugnance release. The lyrics are considered by some, myself included, to be the most vile…ever. They put Cannibal Corpse to shame.



This small micro-genre of death metal, which I like to call gore-metal, or red-metal (red as in blood, get it?) is hard to do well but BH do it very well and it gives them some originality. Founder Brian Griffin is the founder and a long-standing and respected member of the underground death metal community. After a couple of re-issues, a couple of label changes Brian settled down at the very cool label, Martyr Records…a perfect fit.



Grotesque Blessing sees the gore factor brought up a tiny notch, maybe as a result of the lyrical freedom afforded them after leaving Metal Blade. Lyrically, tunes like “Necro-Fellatio”, and “Razor C**t” are absolutely disgusting and that’s the way it should be! The cover is one of those digital rendered types that doesn’t do a lot for me…reminds of Travis Smith which is too clean and nice for a band of this grim caliber…



The CD starts with a sample from a horror movie, Wishmaster I think… Some might say, “How unoriginal”. I say, “An excellent tradition and a good choice to launch the fury of the opening track, Wolf Among Sheep”. Musically, the band is tight! Check out that funky bass interlude on “Christ Consumed” and the neat stop-start, temp changes on “War-Maggot”. They do not rely on pure blast beats and the drummer stays off the cymbals avoiding a cacophonous din of crashes. I like his use of the ride cymbal…a little different sound to punctuate the relentless pounding. The vocals…growling vocals, are intelligible at times…but still pretty inhuman. The solos sometimes have an eighties feel to them, clean notes and well executed, which is nice to hear. Overall, the music is just the way I like my death, mid-to fast tempo but without getting frantic or scattered. GB has lots of punch and growl, faster than Obituary but heavier than Suffocation. The production is decent, not too much high end but not murky either, GB is another extremely solid entry, in a crowded genre, by a band whose catalogue is beginning to look like they should have the critical acclaim of Cannibal Corpse. For more info check http://www.brokenhope.com and http://www.martyrmusicgroup.com.



For those of you who care, Brian Griffin is a prolific musician and is the driving force behind another style of death-metal band, called Em Sinphonia. The contrast between these two styles displays his proficiency as a musician and songwriter. Check our reviews daabase for Em Sinphonia and a review by Crashtest - http://www.metal-rules.com/review/azlist.php



Note April 2, 2002. I wrote this review before I heard the news. Broken Hope has cancelled plans for the new CD and is on an extended hiatus. Metal Blade may re-issue the first four CD’s.

Next review: » Broken Hope - Omen Of Disease
Previous review: » Broken Dagger - Madness Approaching





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