Broken Down – The Other Shore (2015)

The band’s publicist described Broken Down as being similar to NIN, which is actually not true and sort of belittles the unique style that they do possess. Broken Down are actually a French act that have a somewhat raw production, yet really seem to have a keen sense of what electronic and rock/metal mixes should be. “Mr. Sun” (3:37) starts off with a heavy riff, but seems to take a melancholy vibe as it explores a definite French pop style. “The Other Shore” fills with dance grooves, and somewhat harsh vocals as a much fiercer attempt is made, though not completely grabbed after. It is an experiment that stays as such, namely. “Rearview Mirror” (2:37) takes us on a piano fueled journey through a metal concert, even though “Scribble Your World” (4:16) seems a little bit muddled even though it reminds me of Solefald. There’s a little bit of a French vibe going on here as well. It’s definitely different. “Alienated Music” (3:53) almost feels like a bit of electronic punk and maybe even a bit of a surfer rock with thick walls of guitar and melancholic vocals. There’s also that rap vibe coming back into place, which again, is not a real problem. I like a band that feels they need to experiment in such a way that their music holds no boundaries. “This Art Is Mine” (4:03) also contains a rather weird vibe that puts it between French pop, dance music and The Clay People. “Speculator” (3:48) sees the band in danger of over-repeating their style, even by bringing the rap sections back. But I guess they all can’t sound so different, and it is kind of catchy. “Puzzle” (4:29) ends the disc, on a rocking note, yet still remaining true to the band’s sporadic formula. Electronic drums and synths still fill up much of the piece, with even some thick growls in the background if you’ll listen. Broken Down sounds like it could be so over-the-top in experimentalism that it almost seems parody. But I don’t feel this was the intention for the album, they just really wanted to make an abstract record. Which is very much what it is. Everything is everywhere, even though there is still a designated and clearly audible formula. It’s the kind of record that obviously will not be for every listener, but it’s worth checking out if you’re up to the musical challenge. As I said, I hear some Solefald influence here, so I feel that fans of that legendary experimental act will want to give this one a listen as well.

(9 Tracks, 31:00)

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