June’s been a magnet for death metal abundance and similarly overdrawn credit cards… The month kicked off with Suffocation‘s …of the Dark Light, only days later we learned the hard and fast lesson that Dying Fetus are/is the Wrong One to Fuck With. Mere days following that, Entrails added their tin cup to the mix in the form of World Inferno. Hot on the heels of all this mass destruction, comes Broken Hope‘s crushing exploration into the icy horrors of John Carpenter’s 1982 classic horror movie The Thing laid out using Jeff Hanneman’s guitars.

Hailing from the windy city, Broken Hope are known for dealing in what could be referred to as second-tier Suffocation or Deicide inspired death metal, with some healthy Napalm Death grindcore influence. Knowing that Broken Hope have added two new members since releasing Omen of Disease (Diego Soria (Disgorge) on bass and Matt Szlachta (ex-Chimaira) on lead guitar), and looking back over some of the band’s more well-received releases (Swamped in Gore, The Bowels of Repugnance and Loathing), how does Mutilated and Assimilated hold up?

“The Meek Shall Inherit Shit” explodes into earshot with a riff that runs helter-skelter at you. Damian “Tom” Leski (Gorgasm) picks up vocal duties once again, following his introduction back in 2013s Omen of Disease. His base contributions are guttural, topped with a healthy wet gurgle, often delivered with a grunt. Praise where praise is due, Leski successfully maintains the consistency of Broken Hope‘s identity. He’s not trying to one-up past vocalists, he’s just trying to appeal to old and new fans alike, and it works. “The Meek Shall Inherit Shit” proves itself typical Suffocation-branded American death metal, chunky and more than a little obnoxious, but with nice hook. The song wraps up in just under 3-minutes, proving the band know how to self-edit and present their music for maximum impact. And as far as opening tracks go, it’s a worthy introduction to the concept, it’s consistent with the band’s more recent outputs, and it sets a steady course for the remainder of Mutilated and Assimilated.

What follows is meat and potatoes death metal – you’re not going to scramble to get your hands on any one particular track, but there are memorable moments scattered throughout. A Mortician-like vibe appears on “The Bunker” and then again in “Malicious Meatholes.” The title track opens with an uncanny likeness to “Would?” by Alice In Chains, shifting to resemble a grindier version of an Avatar release before climaxing with Szlachta’s light and dynamic guitar solo at the 2:20 mark. “Outback Incest Clan” has a solid foundation of Deicide-flavored death, with attention-grabbing spikes embedded in the riffing. The intro of “The Necropants” sets in motion thoughts of Chesney Hawkes‘ “I am the One and Only.” I breathe a sigh of relief each time Broken Hopes belligerent sound breaks through this horrible memory. And then there’s “Beneath Antarctic Ice,” wrapping up the album, and the only track that truly drives home the warning of John Carpenter’s vision. Clark said it best “I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”

Produced and engineered by Scott Creekmore (ex-Broken Hope), Mutilated and Assimilated has a modern and rich production style appealing to fans of the band’s latter period works. Not only does this approach adequately highlight the beastly nature that Jeremy Wagner set out to convey, but attention to this contentious detail adds some additional replay value to the album.

Like Broken Hope‘s earlier works, my biggest gripe about Mutilated and Assimilated, comes down to the album lacking that “essential” feeling and that the individual tracks feel as though they’ve been made using a cookie cutter. You’re going to get a cool intro, some heavy on the repetition riffing, a crackerjack guitar solo that ends in a screech, and then the song comes to some abrupt or dramatic end. This approach had me enjoying the front-end of the album, but towards the back-end, boredom can ultimately set in. With Leski on vocal duties and Szlachta on lead guitar, Broken Hope have a bright future. They’re a talented set of musicians and I’m hopeful that if they let their creative spirit run wild, their best days are still ahead of them.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 317 kbps mp3
Label: Century Media Records
Websites: brokenhope.com | facebook.com/brokenhopeofficial
Releases Worldwide: June 23rd, 2017

  • Wilhelm

    They have a bright future? They better hurry it, the guys have been around since 1990!

    • rumour_control

      As an old metal mang, everyone is entitled to a bright future…If even for just one more day. ;-)

      • There’s new blood in the band, maybe the combined talent they have currently is what they need to inject life into the next album. I don’t know what level of creative input these new guys had on this release, but Szlachta’s guitar work is pretty ear catching… I’m truly excited to hear what he comes up with next.

        • rumour_control

          Indeed. Well said, as always. I think you captured the essence of the present, with some positive hopes for the near future, too.

    • Alexandre Barata

      They have a bright past, Swamped in Gore is still one of my top 5 death metal albums from 91, which says a lot as in that year everyone and their pets released a DM album. Their early past is not that bright, and although I didn’t listen to this one yet, I believe the present will surely surpass it. The future, I don’t believe in 30 years old bands having bright futures.

  • Kill The King

    317 is an interesting format.

    • I’ve never had such an odd value from The Foobar SW that I use.

    • Aguy

      I mean, if you’re going to compress the music, 320 kbps is just excessive.

    • [not a Dr]

      Isn’t that what mp3v0 does?
      It compresses at varying rates depending on how busy the track is at any given moment, so you get sound equivalent to 320 kbps, but takes less space if there are moments where it could be more compressed without losing quality.

  • rumour

    Impressive opening paragraph in another bit of fine writing.
    Paragraph 4: “I breath a sigh of relief”–should read “I breathe…”

  • Ferrous Beuller

    1000 points for wedging “crackerjack” in there.

    • So many!

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Get “slobberknocker” in there and the sky’s the limit.

        • Don’t tempt me ;)

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Don’t tempt her, slobberknocker!

      • Eli Valcik

        you can exchange those for so many AMG fun bucks. Congrats!

        • Ferrous Beuller

          No. We have to give them to Steel to stem the tide of office atrocities… for a while.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Certainly not as good as Despicable Broken Hope.

    Vardan <3

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      But just as Despicable!

    • Reese Burns

      Speaking of, he has a new record out this year, and it’s pretty great! It seems like taking extra time (a couple months rather than a couple days) between releases really helped.

  • rumour

    Penultimate paragraph:
    “…appealing to fans of the bands latter…”–should read “appealing to fans of the band’s latter…”

  • herrschobel

    It’s ja joy how you dissect this…and ultimately the score is justified…nothing new under the sun for these old dogs… which just leaves me wondering where you see a bright future in this…you must be a sunny and highly optimistic reviewer ;-)

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I still remember when “Infernal Combustion” had an article about Broken Hope revealing that their vocalist was a defective lawnmower…

    • Fuck. I’d been trying for years now to remember that metal parody site and Infernal Combustion it was. Thank you!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        The world needs more Infernal Combustion… copycat bands contract copycat illnesses!

        • Nukenado

          Get to it, Spanish and Russian copycat blogs!

  • “The Necropants”? That’s a typo right, because otherwise that’s like an Exhumed joke title gone way too far.

    • Grimstrider

      I know a man who mocked the necropants once…


    • Jason Muxlow

      I had the same reaction but it triggered some half memory. Looked it up. Apparently in Iceland they used to believe that if you skinned a dead man from the waist down and wore his skin around, you’d get money. Thus, “necropants.”

  • Eli Valcik

    But the album art is fantastic. It looks how I imagine The Thing would look like.

  • Me

    Hmm…not sure about the Suffo comparison. When BH first popped up there were a lot of Cannibal Corpse comparisons due to lyrical content.

    I liked Omen of Disease and the new one which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for any of Cannibals output since Kill or Deicide’s since Once Upon The Cross.

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      So you don’t like “The Stench Of Redemption”? Wow.

      • Also Serpents of the Light is pretty good, despite the incredibly bad production. Like coming after Once Upon the Cross, you just think “Wow guys. Really. You went with this?”

        • Me

          Cross was a step back from Legion. Serpents production ruined it for me but had decent songs on it. Deicide lost it when Eric and Brian gave up creative control. They wrote the first two albums and wanted to go even more technical than Legion. Glen and Steve wanted to strip things back and that’s why we got Once and all the crap since. I’ve tried listening to Stench dozens of times and find it to be like all Deicide input post Hoffmans. Boring, derivative, repetitive. Santolla saved that album and every album since they kicked him out has been the same garbage.

          • I was under the impression that Steve wrote all the music for Deicide (barring solos) since the very beginning?

          • Me

            Not true. First two were mostly if not all Eric/Brian.
            Has Steve been able to write one classic sounding Deicide song since they left?
            Not that he can’t pen a decent tune.
            If you listen to Liar in Wait, even with the shoddy production it’s clear who was writing the early stuff.

      • Me

        I liked Santollas parts but other than that it is probable one of the most overrated albums in the genre. Liar in Wait s****s on it.

  • Jaime VG

    This is one of the worst bands I have ever heard. They are competent and even good musicians, brutal and have some good sounding albums, but the music is so generic and boring that is unberable. At least 6f eet under can be listened to as a comedy act. I just get sleepy listening to them. Weird.

    • Eli Valcik

      While I wouldn’t describe that feeling as “the worst band” I totally do understand you. When bands seem to soullessly cram every cliche relating to the specified genre in their songs, reciting the same played out formula that gets to the point where you just dont give a fuck about the music.

    • Nukenado

      Meh writing hurts the most when it’s delivered by good musicians, for then you get to hear all the technicality and precisely pinpoint all the shrug moments in the song.

  • Drew Music

    I saw the Chimaira name-drop and was excited until I realized dude was from their final form. I fucking love and miss Chimaira, their self-titled album was one of the great game-changers that finally got me really into metal and I spent a few hours chilling with them on their bus in New Hampshire once, but that album was just kind of a sad note for them to end on. Props to them for constantly adapting and evolving, just that one didn’t do it for me (aside from Wrapped in Violence, which slays.)

  • Morbidly Obese Angel

    Someone on another site was hyping this up saying it was better than the new Fetus album and I cannot for the life of me fathom how or why. Broken Hope always was, and are, serviceable at best DM. Not bad but nothing to write home about.

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      This could be true for most of their releases, but for my money, Loathing is a complete front-to-back classic that I hold up there with my other all-time favorite Death Metal releases. It had the most gutteral vocals I had personally heard at the time, riffs and hooks for days, a unique identity where you could tell they had a signature sound, and intelligently-disturbing lyrics that were definitely not cookie-cutter blood and guts lyrics. Twenty years later and I can still go back to that album and get the occasional goosebumps.

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    I’ve listened to this album twice, and although it’s not “bad”, there is absolutely NOTHING memorable about it. Very basic, cookie cutter death metal.

  • Felchmeister777

    Another DM band entering its ‘Status Quo’ era…

    It pays the bills…

  • Josh Necromaniac

    I love the Theme of the album. Had to watch The Thing m/

  • I don’t look down on them as a second-tier Suffocation… They are the first death metal band featuring much slamming and beatdown, far more than Suffo, at Swamped in Gore which was released in 1991. They can be called one of the roots of brutal death and slamming.

    I hope that they go back to their roots and do much oldschool slamming and beatdown