Right from the get-go in The Unbroken’s debut record Human Crown, listeners are washed in a flurry of guitar and drum destruction the likes of which metalheads live and die for in “Stuck in Your Way,” an ironically titled track that crushes most anything and everything that gets in its way inside of four minutes and change. Human Crown includes only five songs from The Unbroken, but for what it lacks in quantity it more than compensates us for in quality. There’s no hitting the skip button on this ferocious EP, which for all intents and purposes packs more of a punch than any LP I’ve listened to this October.
“Suffering in Silence” evolves from a death march beyond the gates of Hell into a groove-laden metal jam that isn’t as sludgy as Acid Bath but is twice as heavy as anything I’ve heard out of the Revolver-cover crowd lately. The title track seeps into the space left behind at the conclusion of this song and quickly fills the air with a supple guitar interlude before launching into rocky riffage of the most aggressive variety. “Human Crown” might be the most complex song on the record, but it doesn’t dwarf the impact of the other material here at all.
A Metallica-style bashing gets the stampede of “I Never Forget” rolling with a quaking beat that keeps attacking us for all of the nearly four minutes that the track lasts, but the evenly-mixed guitars are cushioned by a thick bassline preventing the audience from getting overwhelmed by the sonic intensity. There’s as much to be said about the production quality of Human Crown as there is the vitality of its material, and truth be told, I don’t recall the last time that I was able to say that about a mainstream metal record, EP or otherwise.
The Unbroken’s rookie release comes to a conclusion with the extreme “Nothing Left to Sell,” which takes a number of balladic twists and turns before eventually spitting out the brutalist beat of the entire record. Human Crown is an uncomplicated, meat and potatoes metal EP that doesn’t try to do anything other than represent the blue-collar-heavy, anti-poser identity of its players alongside some of the most agile riffing the states have seen in a while, which is more than I can say for its competition this season. This is a band to keep an eye on in the next year, and a record that belongs on any metal fan’s stereo right now.