Saturday, 14 July 2012

BROKEN HOPE - Grotesque Blessings (1999)


01  Wolf Among Sheep
02  Chemically Castrated
03  Necro-Fellatio
04  Christ Consumed
05  War-Maggot
06  Earth Burner
07  Internal Inferno
08  Razor #%$&
09  Hate Machine

'Grotesque Blessings' is the the fifth album by the American death metal band Broken Hope, released on January 4th 1999 via the Martyr Music Group. Broken Hope hail from Chicago, Illinois. They were founded in 1988 and are known as an accomplished mid-paced style death metal band with low-pitched growling vocals. As a band, they initially spanned roughly twelve years, recording five albums between 1991 and 1999. The core of Broken Hope was Joe Ptacek (vocals), Jeremy Wagner (rhythm guitar), Brian Griffin (lead guitar), and Ryan Stanek (drums). Sadly, on January 20, 2010, vocalist Joe Ptacek committed suicide. He was only 37 years old. The band officially re-united in 2012 with new vocalist Damian Leski.

Broken hope is one of those early death metal bands that some people love and most people hate. I personally love 'Swamped In Gore' and 'Bowels Of Repugnance'. The old Broken Hope sound is not captured in this album too much. Of course the vocals are the same intensely evil low gurgle and the band still has their style, but this album is less in the vein of early Broken Hope and much more brutally technical. It's still Broken Hope, however the powerful riffs merge more fluidly as opposed to 'Swamped In Gore' where the blastbeats fly in and out without warning. If you thought the previous album 'Loathing' was a step up, wait until you hear this one. Brian Griffin and Jeremy Wagner are stop-start riff gods. Broken Hope on this album makes other technical death metal bands sound like Kenny Rogers. The only down point to this joyous listening experience is that, on occasion, the drums can sound quite flat and the last three tracks seem to blend into one tumbling barrage of guitar chords coupled with a Exorcist movie sample for good measure.

All in all, the old spastic Broken Hope still shows through here, alternating chugging, groove-laden death lines with grinding blasts, but there is more structure, more flow, and most importantly more bass! Broken Hope's albums may not be the only death metal albums that matter, but they are certainly classics in their own right. This particular album is as nasty as hell and heavy as shit, showing no decline in skill over the years and Broke Hope are one of the few bands to get better with time! I love this record!

Highlights here include; "Wolf Among Sheep", "Necro-Fellatio", "War-Maggot" and "Earth Burner".

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