Review Summary: The seminal album from the legendary hardcore band.
Hardcore was a different monster during the 1990's. The bands were just as far from the mainstream as they were in the previous decade, but this era had a certain sound. The majority of bands took more influences from metal bands, leading to the creation of metalcore. The pace was slowed down in favor of heavy riffs, while still retaining the occasional speedy sections and the intensity for which the genre is known. Nonetheless, the ideals of hardcore punk remained, particularly the DYI attitude that refused to conform to the mainstream. Even straight edge was still prevalent. Unbroken came from Southern California and became one of the most important bands of this era and their album Life. Love. Regret.
is easily one of the best, if not the best, piece of music to come from the period.
Unbroken was the epitome of the early-mid '90s hardcore. The band's name comes from the members' dedication to the straight edge philosophy. The immense passion that was held is something that is rarely seen or heard. In the midst of chugging guitars, vocalist Dave Claibourn barks and shouts about his struggles with himself and society, while still expressing hope for a light at the end. Our lives may be hard, but we can improve ourselves and the world as a whole if we work together for what we desire. This is exactly the kind of attitude that Unbroken releases. This is everything that hardcore punk embodies.
The vast influence of this album is amazing and truly cements its status. The legacy of Unbroken is fulfilled in that nearly every hardcore and metalcore band to come since has been influenced directly or indirectly by it. Even local hardcore groups around me have expressed their love, fifteen years after the original disbandment. Unbroken is simply one of those bands that just about every fan of hardcore falls in love with when they hear it. One could say that Unbroken is the Minor Threat
of its years, albeit with a longer lifespan.
But it is the passion that makes this record. Dave Claibourn means every single word that comes from his mouth. The members were as dedicated as possible during Unbroken's lifespan. In fact, the band regularly refused money to play reunion shows after breaking up because they did not feel that it was right. The band only decided to play a reunion show after guitarist Eric Allen sadly committed suicide, in order to help get money to his family. A couple more reunion shows were played in 2009, with all profit going towards charities. Money is no aspect here. Unbroken plays music for the community and to help others. Thankfully, more shows have been played in 2010, so it is possible that they may stay for awhile.
Life. Love. Regret.
is everything that hardcore is. It is the heart, the soul, the sound, and the attitude. The music is loud and in your face, but most importantly, passion is put at the top. This album is a monument by a monolithic band. From the crushing riff and sinister notes at the beginning of "D4" to the ending feedback in the nine minute "Curtain", the band produced top notch quality hardcore that would come to shape the genre in the future. Even if the band loses its prefix, it will remain a legend in the hardcore world. Anyone who enjoys the genre at all should embrace it, just as the band has embraced the community.