Bruised But Not Broken


Written by: BL on 02/04/2014 00:12:59

From Charlotte, North Carolina, Bruised But Not Broken's debut full length "Fragment" is without a doubt one of the more ambitious metalcore albums to emerge of late. While it's not without having to incorporate some of the latest trendy facets, there's a lot of neat creativity here that surpasses the ideas of from most bands of their age or whereabouts. Imagine a sound reminiscent of Memphis May Fire or The Devil Wears Prada meets something more atmospheric like Devil Sold His Soul, UnderOATH or even the now long defunct Oceana (when they were still on Rise Records) - certainly an enticing prospect to say the least.

Opener "Enter(Fear)" initially deceives us into thinking we're in for another generic Asking Alexandria clone with it's wobbling synths and huge drum buildup, and aside from the frenetic tapped guitars there's not much that we haven't heard before. But then as we progress into "Color Theory" it becomes pretty apparent that the guitar players in this band Josh Rhodes and Trevor Floyd enjoy riffing for the sake of riffing, and that the song structures do not really follow any particular obvious pattern. Yes there may be stuttering effects that seem to plague every metalcore/post-hardcore record these days and yes there are some random breakdowns that seem to interrupt the flow somewhat. But the way Bruised But Not Broken assembles most of their pieces seems oddly refreshing as one part doesn't always lead to the other as you would expect. This isn't necessarily always a strength as some sections or transitions work less coherently than others. "The Prodigal's Brother"'s heavier mid section for example can feel like a different song to the choruses. A memorable hook may never get repeated as well which can make it more difficult to remember some songs individually.

"Euthogy" is where the band tries their hand at playing with some post-rock, grunge and at times progressive influences. To mix these daunting elements and make them work relatively seamlessly here is no easy feat, and even harder considering how bi-polar the rest of the compositions can be already. While it's the band at their best it's a shame there wasn't far more of these types of songs to be honest. Vocalist Hudson Hower at least makes the most of the more introspective moments. His already credible vocals displays variation and subtlety when things quieten down, but can be powerful and catchy too as "Dead Current Sea" proves, helped on further by excellent instrumention. It's not until "The Third Heaven" though where one can easily mistake it for being something Devil Sold His Soul would produce - beautifully haunting melodies taking precious time to slowly build up and envelope the listener before harsh screams poignantly lead the song out the other side. Such interesting dynamics perhaps dimish the effect of more straighforward heavier romps like "Mourning Glory" and "Days Of The Weak", though there are still plenty of great riffs and lead guitars mixed in amongst more mediocre chugging.

"Fragment" as a whole may not always feel as consistent nor complete as you'd like it to be (true to it's name), but there's definitely plenty of ambitious ideas here to keep you entertained or relaxed depending on the mood of the track. While other lesser bands may just shove in yet another meaningless breakdown or auto tuned pop chorus, Bruised But Not Broken will do that but then throw your expectation against a wall when switching things up again - keeping you guessing what will come next rather than what should come next more than once. It may prove wise to keep an eye on how this band develops from here as with some improvements, they may turn out to be real winners.

Download: Color Theory, Dead Current Sea, The Third Heaven
For the fans of: The Devil Wears Prada, Memphis May Fire, UnderOATH, Oceana
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.03.2014
Standby Records

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