Masterstroke - _Broken_
(Dynamic Arts Records, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Masterstroke's previous release _As Days Grow Darker_ was a masterpiece of melodic power / heavy metal, the likes of which I have rarely encountered, and I'm not even that huge of a heavy metal / power metal fan. The focal point of that album was the shining melodies; larger-than-life, exciting, exhilarating, invigorating, beautiful and, to an extent, apocalyptic, with a phenomenally potent and charismatic vocalist and songs that were killing you softly.

_Broken_ still manages to capture that splendour contained within the band's previous album, however this time the emphasis has been shifted from writing really melodic and beautiful, soul-tearing songs, to writing really heavy ones, for _Broken_ is probably ten times heavier, more dynamic and raucous in comparison.

Melody has given way to heaviness, generally speaking, yet not totally; for the album still contains some of the greatest melodies heavy metal has ever known, now even more accentuated due to the rough edge of the heavy / power metal on display as reference, where absolutely heavy thrashing guitars and crass bass lines darken the sonic skies, here, there and everywhere.

The vocalist is still phenomenal, reminiscent more often than not of an angrier version of Nevermore's soloist Warrel Dane, and the overall feel emanated from the music is that the band's real aspiration is to ultimately become a death metal band; such is the dark essence and the sheer unfathomable weight of the music captured so gracefully on _Broken_. Even fans of heavier and darker, more violent streaks of metal among you would appreciate the accomplishment at hand; the songs are complex yet catchy, the sparse synthesizers add an extra depth to the already atmospheric whirlwind, and the crisp production heightens the music to its allegorical peaks.

Highly recommended for any lover of good music, whomever they may be and wherever they may roam; Masterstroke have a unique ability to tie up all elements that make heavy metal such a great and enjoyable art form, into a shiny, seamless, grand product of musical excellence, an insurmountable ability to excite the listener and plain bestial savagery second to none.

If you seek for a no-frills album that will be nothing but sheer pleasure to your ears, I couldn't think of a better option than _Broken_.


(article published 28/7/2013)

12/13/2008 Q Kalis 7.5 Masterstroke - Sleep
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