Review Summary: UKHC's answer to groundhog day.At Peace Amongst Chaos
, the debut release from UK hardcore group Broken Teeth, is an album that puzzles me. The adage goes that you should never judge a book by it's cover, but the record's art resembling a poor imitation of a Backtrack album seems an oddly appropriate omen for what's in store across the LP's 10 tracks. Stylistically, the band will be very familiar to anyone paying attention to UKHC, sitting somewhere between the no frills, breakdown-heavy work of Guilt Trip and the slightly more metallic influences that typify Malevolence's earlier releases. However, despite the album's close sonic relation to some strong contemporaries, it quintessentially fails where Broken Teeth's peers have succeeded.B y boiling down hardcore into its most unrefined, simple capacity, At Peace
ends up devoid of identity, and whilst perfectly competent, is one of the more uninspired releases to come out of the scene in recent years.
Upon a first listen through, something becomes immediately apparent about the record that either isn't true of most other records, or is hidden well enough such that it isn't noticeable: every song on At Peace
is written in the same key. The issue with this is that, when a record is as compositionally simple as At Peace
, it makes each song seem near indistinguishable from the next, with little in terms of pace or heaviness to help tell the majority of the track listing apart either. That's not to say that the record is entirely devoid of satisfying moments - 'Take Me Away's mid-tempo introduction melts into a pacy section that's sure to get some two-stepping going, and the oddly misspelt 'Leach Regress to Snake's lyrical hook is arguably the catchiest point on the record. However, past the first two tracks, there's little of note in the remaining 8 songs, as the lack of variety key-wise renders an ultimately samey set of tracks, well, very samey. 'Nothing Like You' stands out as a slightly heavier moment, with a satisfyingly stomping chorus, but when virtually all of the 10 songs differ very little in terms of their basic construction, there's little to praise. Even down to the point that 'Witness of Destruction' and 'Prove You Wrong' open with almost the same riff, the record fails to progress any of its own ideas, ending up retreading the same ground over and over again for 30 minutes.
These flaws on their own would leave At Peace
as a painfully redundant, but very average record - one entirely alright
, even enjoyable in short bursts, but lacking anything noteworthy. The mixing is fine
, with no egregious faults, but lacking in any real punch on the low end that can save mediocre-but-heavy, breakdown-centric releases such as this one. Vocally there's little variation - no sign of cleans, or anything really guttural, sitting comfortably in the 'mid' section of screaming/shouting. Again, that isn't bad so to speak, but only emphasises the lack of inspiration on the record, compounding just how tonally and dynamically flat the whole album feels. The drumming is a similar story, and the guitar work pays lip service to brutality whilst lacking the contrasts required to make chugging breakdowns have any impact.
At Peace Amongst Chaos
at the end of the day, boils down to one thing - the hardcore equivalent of one of those mindless, generic Rise Records bands from the late 2000s who all seemed to be making the same brand of painfully generic metalcore. Whilst nothing on the record approaches a St. Anger
-esque trainwreck, the sheer lack of originality, inspiration or anything to mark their debut release out as something worth paying attention to leaves Broken Teeth's first full length sounding like a pretty beige collection of Terror B-sides. Sure, it's not the worst record you'll ever hear, but you'd probably have a lot more fun listening to something else.
Best Tracks - Nothing Like You, Leach Regress to Snake
Worst Tracks - Witness of Destruction, Stomp to Dust, At Peace Amongst Chaos, Lose My Grip, Show No Mercy, Riot of the Mind