It’s so easy to see why the early wave of metalcore bands from the early ‘00s had such an easy following. Crusaders of the mosh like Bury Your Dead and American Me spent the decade bringing waves of carnage across club venues in the States and beyond, with carefully placed breakdowns and enough memorable hooks to let their songs be more than a sonic alleyway assault. It bled into the consciousness of its fans, simple but appealing to the primal voice in the back of everyone’s mind that tells them to go push that guy stood next to you in the crowd.
Having gained the tag “mosh-core” to describe their own brand of brutality, Massachussets quintet On Broken Wings come back to a changed metalcore landscape, where Northlane’s technical prowess and Stray From the Path’s anti-authoritarian rally cries are capturing the cultural zeitgeist. With long-awaited new album ‘Disintegrator’ being branded a “rebirth” by the band, can they keep up by bringing the mosh alone?
Not in a creative sense. There’s no denying the band are sticking true to their musical core values on this record, but there also doesn’t feel like a lot of risks are being taken either. The standard of chug-and-groove riffing on ‘Dragging Weight’ last felt fresh when it was played in 2006, plus frontman Jonathan Blake’s clean vocals never seem to fill the walls of noise the rest of the band stack against it.
But as someone with a short fuse, innovation isn’t always needed when needing something good to throw down to, and the linear beatdowns of ‘Crowns Meant for Kings’ and closer ‘Ego Ideal’ are pummeled with a hardness that equates to an audio punishment that forced you to remember which band you’re messing with.
As joyful as this makes Disintegrator, it doesn’t make it the essential metalcore comeback album. The brutality is fun, but in the context of 2016 and the scene’s progress, On Broken Wings’ comeback is reminder of how far the genre has advanced.
‘Disintegrator’ by On Broken Wings is released on 19th August via Artery Recordings
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)