This young band from Charlotte, North Carolina sure does give the South a good name. From the intro, Fragment (2014) explodes with an unmatched energy that lasts until the last note of the record. Bruised But Not Broken creates an alluring sound that stems from post hardcore roots and blossoms into a unique blend of bass heavy breakdowns and groovy guitar licks. All of that combined with a taste of southern rock gives the album a gritty sound that leaves one feeling quite filthy, in the best possible way.
The dirtiness of this album only enhances its aesthetic appeal. The low screams in Fragment have been painfully missed in this scene, and the clean vocals never sound too high pitched or agonizingly forced. The balance between cleans, screams and growls in songs like “The Prodigal’s Brother” shows an incredibly impressive maturity for a debut album. Not only do the vocals stand out as an impressive asset of the record, but the guitar solos and riffs throughout Fragment make it utterly delightful to listen to. Without a dull moment, even throughout the less rowdy tracks, the album captivates the listener with exciting moments built by unexpected and impressively written twists and turns. With a humble use of electronics, most of the music goes back to basics and shows that a good old fashion guitar track and some playful drum beats can overpower an overused techno beat any day of the week.
Bruised but Not Broken, an openly Christian group of young men, approaches including their faith in their music in a respectable and successful manner. Without being pushy or condescending to those of different beliefs to their own, they include Christian messages, ideas, and references in their songs. Even the song titles, “The Prodigal’s Brother,” “Babel Orchestral” and “Devil’s List” to name a few, portray the band’s allegiance to and love of Christianity and its teachings. Respectably, they offer a hopeful message to listeners of any faith. The lyrics contain less of the ‘life sucks, pass the razorblades’ content and more ‘be strong and don’t give up’ vibes. The lack of negativity makes Fragment exponentially more enjoyable and reflects Bruised but Not Broken quite positively.
Fragment lays an extremely promising cornerstone for the future of Bruised but Not Broken.
Fragment is available March 4 via Standby Records.
Review by Alice Carson