In a time when metal is moving in so many directions that even the most diehard of fans has been left struggling to keep up, The Unbroken are getting back to the fundamentals of modern extreme music in their debut record Human Crown, a five-track EP riddled with heavyweight riffs and enormous grooves. In songs like the title track, “I Never Forget” and “Suffering in Silence,” The Unbroken rely on pure physicality alone in their quest to get us headbanging to their beats, and while theirs is a brand of metal less dependent on oversized bass lines and sluggish tempos than most are, Human Crown is far from devoid of the heaviness commonly linked with the most traditional of the genre’s forerunners.
The riffage is always the main centerpiece in this record, and although there’s just as much attention paid to the construction of the rhythm in progressive numbers like “Nothing Left to Sell” and “Human Crown,” it’s always the wallop of the guitars that keeps us tuned into the band’s play more than anything else does. Inside of four minutes and change, “Stuck in Your Way” envelops us in a mixture of thrashing percussion and punishing strings that, though filtered through significant overdrive, don’t lost their definition in the master mix. The Unbroken pay attention to the little details in their music, and comparative to the other bands in their scene and beyond, this makes their sound so much tighter and well-synchronized than most any of their peers’ is.
Thrashers and worshipers of true groove metal really can’t go wrong with Human Crown this November, as it gives us the sort of vulgar display of power that has been missing from the heavy music lexicon in the late-2010s American underground. It’s not quite the tour de force that a full-length album would likely be, but this is one EP that is almost guaranteed to leave you shaking at the end of its twenty minute-plus festival of assaults. I don’t doubt that The Unbroken will be on to bigger and better things in their next studio session, but if it produces results even half as strong as these, they’re going to be in great shape for the impending New Year.