On Broken Wings
Some Of Us May Never See The World
At first glance, it would be extremely easy to mistake the full length debut from On Broken Wings as your run-of-the-mill emo album due to its semi-pretentious album title and jacket artwork. This is not to say it’s bad, or that emo is bad (hell, I love a lot of emo music), but it just has that certain look and feel about it. And if not emo, surely just another metalcore band leveraging the sad-kid-in-the-mosh melody tactic that seems to be selling oh so many records these days. But On Broken Wings pulls no such punches here.
Hailing from Hull, Massachusetts, this six-piece creates brutally chaotic music that seeps with just barely-checked aggression. If you’re wondering what metalcore really is, this is it: A sludgy, tight, inventive, and often unpredictable metallic soundtrack topped off with low death metal growls, higher-pitched screams (think Converge), and the occasional vocal melody (think Poison the Well) or frantic whispered lyric. This is the sort of stuff you stash in the car for those times when you not only want to drive fast, but recklessly as well.
The band experiments throughout with keyboards or the occasional sample, and combining this with their chaotic Dillinger-inspired musical promiscuity makes for an unpredictably volatile listen. My only real complaint is that the album seems to suffer from muddy production in spots, perhaps intentionally so, and particularly in the vocal mix. It sounds as if there are constant effects on Jonathon Blake’s death metal growls, which is just a little bit distracting, if you don’t care for that sort of thing.
Although it’s a challenging listen at first, these guys are creative and talented enough to warrant additional attention, as evidenced in tracks including “I Do My Crosswords in Pen”, “Like Starscream”, and “As You Speak”. On Broken Wings have managed to successfully synthesize a lot of the artier elements found in the underground heavy acts today, with a somewhat surprising concentration on the harshness and brutality of the music as opposed to the more melodic aspects. Although a little unfocused at times, the range and intensity of the material on Some of Us May Never See the World is impressive for such a young band, and it’s good to see acts continuing to emerge in this vein of music that value creativity over formula. Best heavy album of the year? No way. Promising start? No doubt. Keep an eye on these guys.