|Masterstroke - Broken
11 January 2013
01. The Eye
02. I Condemn You
03. Seed Of Chaos
05. As We Crawl
06. Reborn In Flames
07. My Last Day
08. Before The End
Many albums can have the backing of solid performance yet fail to leave a lasting impression; the skills at hand outweighing the songwriting and ultimately leading to a finished product which is largely unremarkable. Full of crunchy leads and modern stylings Masterstroke's Broken is likely to fly well under the radar of many heavy metal fans. Which is really unfortunate as this has some aggressively punchy guitarwork of the kind which berates the ears of those familiar with Nevermore.
A bit of flair or a technical turn here and there manages to transform a few moments from mediocrity to something potentially memorable. For the most part, however, the album sinks under the weight of uninteresting filler passages.
It all bears a thin keyboard colouring which at times gives it a sound like something you would expect of modern melodic death, minus the harsh vocals. The vocals here are often belted forth in forceful shouts or used surprisingly well in the thoroughly power metal geared and catchy chorus of album highlight "Seed Of Chaos", which is easily the most memorable piece of the record.
Occasionally there is an effective mixing of this sound with atmospheric backing which becomes more audible at various parts; "My Last Day", with its intro of Loomis-like licks, is another of the album's stronger points, being where all the elements come together in a noticeable fashion. Final track "Before The End" also has this well mixed nature, the introductory and bridging vocals being reminiscent in style of those employed by Communic.
The album's merits aren't enough to attract the attention of many, though if you're after a sound which isn't just another generic heavy metal release this does have something to offer you. It's worth checking out for its few memorable moments.