Broken Down

Album Title: 
First Spit
Release Date: 
Monday, February 23, 2015
Review Type: 

Sometimes it’s a hard job to be a reviewer. Like in this case. I do not know, even after three listens, what to think about this album. Do I like it or not? Is it the masochistic part within me that makes me enjoy this material despite being extremely irritating, or is it a hidden temptation poisoning the listeners’ mind? Really, I have no idea…

Let’s start with a quote from Jello Biafra: ‘nowadays it’s been put into all these narrow parameters, a band picks a style, plays in nothing but that style and puts the intelligent members of their audience to sleep’. Any idea what he’s talking about? Neither do I, but Broken Down use this phrase to characterise their debut recording First Spit. And because of this mysterious announcement, I makes sense…

Actually, Broken Down are a completely new act from Bordeaux, France, collecting seven tracks under the First Spit working title. And each piece is a totally weird expression of sonic Anti-Art. The solo-outfit draws its influences from tens of different styles, mingling them into a mad experience. And after having listened to this EP, you won’t forget it - though I’m not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing… Actually, Broken Down describe their style with ‘Industrial Doom Metal’, but that’s something I do not agree with. Okay, there are lots of elements from Doom for sure, and from time to time there are hints of Industrial too, but the latter is rather facultative in presence.

Anyway, First Spit was self-recorded and will see the light via Altsphere Production, a label run by sole Broken Down-member JeFF (think: The Dead Musician, Lifeless, Der Kaiser Der Narren, Tribe Nihasa, Doomed To Failure and more of that beauty…). This twenty five minutes journey opens with You Covetous, I’m On A Roll, which opens with a groovy intro. It’s based on a heavy guitar riff and drum computer, with electronic elements, and soon vocals join the fun: little raw and semi-melodic.  They are false, oh so false, but I think it’s somewhat charming. Further on there are some very deep grunts too, distorted guitar leads, more electronic percussion and a heavy-as-f*ck rhythm section. I would say this song mixes elements from Stoner and Doom, Punk, Crust and (Death) Metal with electronica and psychedelica, but this won’t fully describe this unusual song. Next song, A Pill Hard To Swallow, opens with a sample taken from the Devil’s Knot motion picture, and then combines Stoner with elements from Southern, Thrash / Death Metal (once again including deep grunts), Hardcore Punk and Groove. After two minutes there is quite a cool acceleration, moving the whole atmosphere towards a more noisy-industrialized dimension. The third piece, How Could It Be, starts with an excerpt from that higher mentioned movie too, before transforming into a mélange of Harsh Electronics, dark Electro Rock and I don’t know what else. The bastard offspring of Front Line Assembly, Die Krupps, Nine Inch Nails and the likes at the one hand, with Thathiana Khankhana / Amebix-alike heaviness, if you want to… On The Way To Be Yourself, the longest piece (clocking about five minutes), starts with acoustic guitars and the false vocals of JeFF, soon joined by electronic drum beats and electric guitars. After about one minute, the tempo and approach change, with blackish screams joining the desolate party. I guess it’s the most varying piece, and the most diverse, but also the most convincing one out of seven. Then come two surprising pieces (though, the denomination ‘surprise’ isn’t but a hollow phrase in this album’s case): the Eiffel65-cover Blue, here re-baptised as Doom, and the track Like A Witch Daddy Doom, based on Boney M’s Daddy Cool. Both of them are electronized and totally reconstructed, and it’s quite funny indeed. The EP ends with the Southern / Groove track Southern Wave Of Goodbye, which is instrumental and extremely catchy. Towards the end this rocking piece also includes the typifying electronics – or did you expect to hear a ‘normal’ track on this EP?

Well, I think this project is quite an ironic thing, but I warn you: listen before buying / stealing! It might please you, but it might annoy you enormously too. I can’t say I ‘like’ it, but I surely enjoyed the stuff.