Broken Hope – Omen of Disease (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
It’s been over a decade since Broken Hope’s founding member, Jeremy Wagner put the band into “metal hibernation”. That was just three years after the release of their fifth album, Grotesque Blessings. Since then, the Chicago band’s original vocalist, Joe Ptacek, tragically passed away in 2010. Now though, in 2013, the band are back, reinvigorated and ready to lay waste to all those around them. Omen of Disease is here, and it’s a damned brute.
After such an extended absence from the world of music, the return could go one of either two ways. It could go the way of the legendary Black Sabbath, and be a thoroughly underwhelming experience, or it could smash us around the face, much in the way that the mighty Carcass have with their return, the quite sublime Surgical Steel.
Well, I can tell you right now that Broken Hope took the surgical route and, much like Carcass, have delivered a truly monstrous slab of death metal. However, Omen of Disease is not just an excellent death metal album; it’s a damned fine album full stop. The introduction of Damian Leski on vocals has turned out to be a true blessing, with his virtually indecipherable growls just adding to the heaving mass of heaviness. Remember when Obituary first spat out Slowly we Rot, and no one had any idea what John Tardy was singing about? Well that’s not too far from what we get here and it’s bloody fantastic!
There are thirteen songs contained on this album, of which one is an extended and ominous intro, Septic Premonitions, and another being the 2012 redux of Incinerated, and all are killer tracks. Only one, the title track, creeps over the 4 minute mark, with the rest being short sharp blows to the head, with a very blunt object.
Omen of Disease is certainly no case of a band just knocking out a new album just for the sack of it. Hell, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as this sounds just as fresh, if not fresher, and hungrier than bands that have only just bled out their first album. This is heavy as hell, contains real songs and guitar solos that actually work within the context of the material. Younger bands could learn a hell of a lot from Wagner and Co.
With new albums from Carcass and Autopsy, and platters set to arrive from the likes of Deicide and Pestilence, Broken Hope are at the forefront of showing the world that the old school among death metal are still the best at what they do, and they mean business. Omen of Disease is an absolute monster of an album, and with songs such as The Flesh Mechanic and Choked Out and Castrated, you really can’t go far wrong.
|1. Intro / Septic Premonitions|
|2. Womb of Horrors|
|4. The Flesh Mechanic|
|5. Rendered into Lard|
|6. Omen of Disease|
|7. The Docking Dead|
|8. Give Me the Bottom Half|
|9. Predacious Poltergeist|
|10. Blood Gullet|
|11. Carnage Genesis|
|12. Choked Out and Castrated|
|13. Incinerated (2013 Redux)|
Omen of Disease is released in the U.S. on October 1st by Century Media.