The 90’s.

Bands such as Motley Crue and Guns n Roses slowly started losing their shock value as music started progressing towards the emotion and inner struggle, rather than the living life to the fullest attitude. Although polarizing to some, phenoms such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains started emerging, seasoning a more raw and passionate approach than precedent genres. It was long overdue that such bands became popular within that generation (and no, I’m not referring to the millions of teenage girls and boys who to this day think Nirvana is a clothing brand).

It was something fresh and vibrant at the same time. Even though detractors didn’t fall short ever since their inception, it never stopped musicians from developing, applying their craft and progressing with time.

My first recollecting memory of A Broken Design was way back in the 2015 edition of Xtreme Metal Assault. The band was presented as a bunch of seasoned yet equally talented individuals whose sole objective was to bring a crisp perspective towards the Hard Rock/Stoner genre. One tends to have an absolute preference towards more extreme metal, but the older one got, the more he adapted to contrasting and distinct genres. I can remember the day as if it was yesterday. The heat was unbearable, the band was set to perform in the second allotment and needless to say, I got blown away by their dexterity. They managed to incorporate nostalgia, rage, agony and insurrection all at once. No overly abstruse material, simply emotional and effective.

The diverse background boasted within each band member was highly noted. I could feel all the elements from the bands I’ve mentioned previously, yet they managed to comprehensively blend shades of Brand New Sin, Down, Corrosion of Conformity, Kyuss and may I dare to also credit, minuscule elements of Crowbar and Mastodon. The band knew what they were doing, they had a clear vision and devotion of what they wanted to consolidate in their material, and although some line-up changes came along the way, it didn’t stop them to reach their goal, so for fans like oneself, it was long overdue to imminently get a hold of a hard copy of their material.

The moment when Halo of Flies was announced, I was both ecstatic and curious of what the arduous quartet had to offer. From live performances of the tracks within the EP, I could easily deduce that this is no local yokel stuff, it was serious business. As I went through the whole EP, it reminded me of simpler times, when human beings used to truly appreciate the little things, unlike some pretentious and gloating attitude we endorsed nowadays. Halo of Flies is wistful, dominant and bitter, as pious and inner struggle related themes seem to be the mainstay in all of the 5 tracks. Long story short, the EP is an efficacious blast from the past embraced with modern eyesight.

You can easily extract and release each track as singles, but the title track is already worth the money spent. The exquisite bass-line from the intro section, coupled with dirty, distorted guitars and ever so organic yet bombastic vocals, makes the listener hit the replay button over and over again. Indeed the catchiest tune from the entire EP, never falling short from groove and thrill. Following is the more bluesy oriented “Unbroken”, capturing the one constant that keeps us going, hope. The EP takes a whole different approach with the track “Pieces”, perhaps the slower among the bunch. The track is Soundgarden and Alice in Chains all over, with its grunge direction and perhaps the most despondent one both musically and lyrically. The vocals are definitely a high note in this one, as anger and grief can be surmised, as the guitars start chugging into oblivion. “Under My Skin” was already a mainstay from their live set list, thanks to its haunting riffs and tube screaming effects, picking up from where the foregoing track left. “Little Brother” is more fast paced oriented track, noting some Velvet Revolver and early Black Label Society along with the way.

The sheer amount of significant influences that this band managed to blend in is simply imposing. No need for overly complicated riffs. Things kept simplistic yet proficient. The production of the EP exceeds every expectation. It’s what you’d expect from a less extreme-oriented band, focusing on raw power and primitive steps. Definitely a strong debut from the quartet, with plenty of horizons to be discovered in future endeavors. I am still waiting for the studio version of “Breaking My Vows” though, quite possibly the track that made me feel enamored with their advent. Will be definitely looking forward to more material from these lads, as they managed to bring me back to the days when things were simpler yet more appreciative.

“I’m lost inside, all the truth and the lies. You rule my life, with your Halo of Flies.”

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Halo of Flies EP Launch

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Author: Alan Formosa

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