The Unbroken – Human Crown (EP)
Those who follow the metal underground already know that 2019 has been a great year to be a fan of the genre, with new up and comers like The Unbroken demonstrating the almost anything is possible in this new age of heavy rock. In the group’s new extended play Human Crown, The Unbroken test the limits of groove, power and thrash metal while staying humble in their experimental attack, and though the record only contains five new songs, it doesn’t leave listeners wanting for more by any stretch of imagination. Human Crown is all about its guitar overkill, anthemic lead vocals and crashing drums, and though the band faces stiff competition across the board in the United States, their debut affair is a standout among this year’s best metal recordings without question.
It’s far from stripped-down in tonality, but this tracklist doesn’t really have any of the excesses that some of us have long-associated with heavy metal music. The title track, “Stuck in Your Way” and “Suffering in Silence” are all relatively cut and dry in design, much in the way of a The Blackening-era Machine Head, but where I would expect there to be a punky edge to the construction of the beats, there’s a faint homage to old fashioned thrashing in the way of Slayer and Megadeth. “I Never Forget,” in more ways than one, sounds like an outtake from South of Heaven, while “Nothing Left to Sell” is a straight-up collision course in thrash aesthetics and operatic conceptualism.
I’m stoked to see The Unbroken on stage at some point in the future, because the material they slash through in Human Crown could really quake most any venue that this group gets booked in. They’ve got a lot of attitude but virtually zero arrogance in this disc, and with the right cultivation of their skills, there’s no limit to what they could do right now in the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary heavy metal. The genre is experiencing a new renaissance as the decade comes to a close, and with bands like this one leading the underground revolution, 2020 is going to be a really incredible year for organic metal enthusiasts.