|Musical Style: Hard Rock/Metal||Produced By: Lubomir Lichy|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: Slovakia|
|Year Released: 2015||Artist Website: Broken Rain|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 59:17|
This is Here Comes The Pain, the independently released spring of 2015 full-length debut of Banská Bystrica, Slovakia based Broken Rain. Recorded in follow up to the group’s initial self-titled demo from 2009, Here Comes The Pain reflects the Broken Rain influences in no uncertain terms, namely Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. As one might imagine, the group draws upon the best elements of classic seventies hard rock, albeit not without reflecting its share of metal based moments that pay tribute to the eighties (and beyond). Broken Rain got its start in 2006 as a cover band, with its early set list comprising songs from the aforementioned, prior to making the gradual transition to original material.
It deserves mention the metal hotbed that has recently become Slovakia, with countrymen Signum Regis and Within Silence immediately coming to mind. Former gives rise to a power metal aspect on its well-known Ulterium Records releases Exodus (2013) and Through The Storm (2015) and latter aspects of power and progressive metal on its Ulterium debut Gallery Of Life (2015). While I enjoy the power and progressive segments as much as any hard music fan, credit Broken Rain for not having a ‘follow the herd’ mentality by stepping out on its own with a classic hard rock meet heavy metal sound that is not always as prevalent within the scene today. I cannot answer as to the reason Slovakia is producing so many talented bands, but it is to the benefit of the metal community that it is!
Those Broken Rain seventies mixed with eighties nuances best stand out on the heavier Here Comes The Pain material. It starts with opener “Burn The Witch”, introduced to howling wolves and ominous church bells before full on metal guitars take over and align with hints of organ to create a tenacious if not driving effect. Albums title track comes across every bit dogged with its plundering bass line (about subtle as a punch in the jaw) and heavyset backing vocals (upholding the hulking refrain). The joining of the swarthy and aggressive the two bring to the table has classic metal written all over it.
Also reflecting a heavier edge is “I Want To Play Rock”, on the expeditious side of things with screaming organ and heavy hitting refrain lending to the heightened tempo at hand. Note the complementary (and skillfully done) lead guitar work of Filip Prašovský. Even faster is “Prisoners In The Wasteland” in which unflagging bass and keyed up drumming - courtesy of Vladislav Gális and Branislav Končír, respectively - set the decisive (and almost speed metal) tone. Despite the prevailing angst, this one revels in understated melody.
On the more accessible side of things is “Seize The Fire”, mid-paced in terms of its churning verses but breaking out for the more up-tempo qualities of its catchy chorus. I enjoy how the instrumental section gradually grows and builds in momentous fashion. Likewise, “Forgotten Heroes” leans towards the melodic, smoothly grooving to crisp rhythm guitar and prominently placed thickset backing vocals, as does “So Far Away”, more expeditious with its keyed up low end contrasting with refined leanings of an almost commercial nature. Decorating both tracks is more of Prašovský’s searing lead guitar work.
Tempering things even further is “Burning Eyes”, with its melodic hard rock to AOR sentiments that lend to a positive and uplifting atmosphere, and “Wanna Love My Girl”, slow, moody and heartfelt in trending classic rock to laid back blues-rock territory. “Tonight” proves a soaring and sweeping piano ballad that slowly heightens to a rollicking crescendo at the end. The three find front man Martin Rybár standing out with his varied middle-register delivery in which he can reach low for some fitting grit and gravel or smoothly stretch with a well-timed falsetto.
Broken Rain can also throw the occasional curveball. Consider “Strong”, in which the group does the unremitting and happy, feel good power metal thing as well as anyone- and does countrymen Signum Regis and Within Silence proud in the process! I am somewhat reminded of Seventh Avenue. “Broken Rain” finds the group playing up its best Aerosmith impersonation (and very well at that) with bluesy guitars, boogie flavored mentality and good, old fashioned fun tying everything together. Rybár even allows a light Steven Tyler flair to highlight his delivery.
Effective production reveals the Broken Rain guitar sound to walk a fine line between the dogged bite of hard rock and all out distortion characteristic to metal. Emphasized otherwise is a smooth but prevailing bass presence and even keyboard mix. Upshot is just enough polish but not to a fault.
Packaging shines equally for an independent release. Instead of packaging the album in a typical square CD jewel case, the group instead employed a rectangular jewel case with the same height and width dimensions of a DVD. This allows inclusion of that much more content for the multi-page mini booklet. No, this is not something I have seen before in 30 years of purchasing CD’s, but credit Broken Rain for its different (and unique) approach.
While Broken Rain does not consider itself a Christian band, all its members are believers. Group makes its faith best known on “Seize The Fire” (with ‘fire’ representing the Holy Spirit) -
There’s a fire
You have to find it before you die
Seize the fire
Take it higher
- and “Prisoners In The Wasteland”:
For our King
And His Kingdom to come
Brought by the wind
And saved from the sin
Bound by the oath
Don’t break the seal
“So Far Away” deals with fighting our weaknesses (and following the example of Christ):
So far away
Try to reach the other side through the dark and pain
There’s no other way
For the sins of the world you’ll have to pay
“Burn The Witch”, as its title implies, focuses metaphorically on a ‘witch hunt’ -
They put her to the trial
They searched for witches marks
They burnt her at the stake
But now they hear her laugh
- and “Forgotten Heroes” on those who sacrifice themselves for others:
We don’t need heroes
That’s what people say
But then they silently pray
When there’s no one to blame
And you just don’t care
Other topics covered include monogamous love (“Wanna Love My Girl”), the power of music and doing what you love (“I Want To Play Rock”), standing for what you believe (“Strong”) and romantic love that can be interpreted on the spiritual level (“Tonight”). I would like to thank bassist Vladislav Gális for the additional detail he provided about the groups prose.
Here Comes The Pain adds up to a solid debut album in that all the needed components are in place: Consistent songwriting, solid musicianship and vocals and quality production. It also deserves mention the different approach the group takes in terms of the CD packaging- and makes foregoing the download route highly recommended. Appreciated in the process is how Broken Rain effectively merges the best aspects of seventies hard rock with an eighties metal based sound. In representing one of many talented groups to have recently emerged from Slovakia, Broken Rain has established itself as a solid contender in a crowded contemporary hard music scene.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Burn The Witch” (5:24), “Seize The Fire” (5:14), “Forgotten Heroes” (5:51), “Wanna Love My Girl” (5:18), “Burning Eyes” (5:48), “Here Comes The Pain” (5:29), “So Far Away” (4:33), “I Want To Play Rock” (3:48), “Tonight” (4:50), “Prisoners In The Wasteland” (5:05), “Strong” (4:22), “Broken Rain” (3:35)
Martin Rybár - Lead Vocals
Filip Prašovský - Guitars
Vladislav Gális - Bass
Imrich Šimig - Keyboards & Guitars
Branislav Končír – Drums