Outrage - Broken (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Broken (2009)


Outrage's Broken is a seriously promising first LP. This is clearly a group of dudes who dig on heavy `90s hardcore but have the musicality, restraint and experimental mindset to make it sound invigorating and sincere, landing somewhere between Unbroken and 108; there's nary a forced mosh part to be found on Broken.

The seething, mid-tempo "Compassion" segues into the suddenly fast-tempo, flailing "Dead Air" without flinching and it's indicative of the variety Broken provides. There's plenty of unique guitar tones and frenetic riffs that poke their respective heads out every now and then, but the versatile array of pacing certainly helps, as does the overwhelming number of changeups sneaking around frantically heavy cuts like "City Lights and Hopeless Eyes" and "Winter Nights and Desperate Times." The first minute of "Writer's Block" features a merely quiet guitar setting and a mix of hushed, sort of spoken singing and muted screams in the background. But hell, piano instrumental opener "Into the Dark" (bookended at closer "Decades of Grey Skies"'s finish) sounds just like U2's "October" and creepy interlude "Shadows" kinda resembles the theme to The X-Files. But it all works, because Broken is a bleak, depressing and emotionally confused album all the same.

There's four guest vocal appearances here, and they're all pretty notable. Soul Control's Rory Vangrol just nails it in "Broken," making an otherwise repetitive refrain sound fresh. Elsewhere, Jay Maas (album engineer and Defeater guitarist), Chris Martin (Hostage Calm) and Pat Flynn (Have Heart) all get in on the action. They're all pretty well-done to one extent or another, but Outrage is clearly creative and talented enough that this album would be just as good without them anyway. Still, the slow-burning "Veins" sounds like Modern Life Is War on the verge of absolute collapse, and whoever's guesting on this particular song (Flynn and Martin, I think?) just adds a perfectly frustrated, teeth-clenched bout of rage to it.

I'd love to hear Outrage try and flesh out this sound even more, but they've some really good ideas going on on Broken as it is.

Dead Air