BrokenWhat a great production for an unsigned band! Switzerland’s Broken Fate are still without a deal despite releasing high standard demos for a few years now, but I reckon this is a good move – put out a mini album of the quality that a record company, or at least a distro can put straight out there.

But what of the music? The whole thing kicks off with a really cool semi-acoustic intro before the band wade in proper with ‘Your Night’. It’s a kind of Dark Heavy Power/Speed Metal that reminds me of Sencirow and Susperia on the whole. There are catchy riffs with a super-tight rhythm section that shows flashes of Nevermore, Symphorce and Communic but with a more Thrash-orientated vocal delivery that tends to stay in it’s lower register with very occasional grunts (on later tracks). It deserves…no, demands to be played loud (thanks again to that great production), as does the next track ‘The Way In Your Eyes’, which reminds me again of Susperia (which is fine by me…), and includes some of the best riffs on the album. There’s also a bit of Arch Enemy in the music – in the way Broken Fate mix meaty, chugging riffs, with some higher, memorable lead guitar work. This track alone should be enough to get the band a decent record deal, but I guess that’s just my opinion.

This CD was actually promoted to me via a Metallica/Pantera angle (which ironically made me a bit wary), but to my ears this style is only particularly apparent on ‘Eternal Memories’. OK, it smacks very heavily of Hetfield and Hammet in the riff department (and even Ulrich in the drumming!) as well as a little of Hetfield and Anselmo in the vocals, but I also find just as much in common with Testament and Paradox too. I know, I know, name-drop the big boys to get the record companies interested, but Broken Fate have SO much more to offer! I personally prefer the style of the previous two tracks, but this track shows another side to the band and let’s remember that this release is pretty much a showcase for a band still honing their style.

Another angle that Broken Fate have is with the acoustic track ‘Fate’, soulfully delivered by a vocalist that I’m sorry to say I had rather harshly written off as a bit one-dimensional. Clearly, as this track shows, he is just trying to bring to each song a style he feels it needs, and being one of the guitarists too, maybe with half a mind on a tight live performance. Here he delivers an excellent performance, full of gravel-throated emotion that a modern-day Paul Shortino or Marc Storace would be proud of. A really unexpected moment to be honest, and well done to the band for including this on the album – there is obvious musical potential in the previous songs, but this shows a side to the vocals that can also be enhanced in the future. That only leaves ‘Frozen’, a punchy 80’s Speed Metal style instrumental that seems to capture elements of everyone from Meliah Rage or Abattoir, through Flotsam and Jetsam to Soilwork and Demonaz.

All in all, a rather tidy, thoroughly enjoyable mini album that is right up there with any other band of this style. Surely it won’t be too long before I’m reviewing their full-length debut with a nice record company logo in the bottom corner of the back cover!? Good work guys – keep it going!

(7.5/10 Andy Barker)