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Broken Dagger

Chain of Command

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing release. The CD is a concept album and showcases a band that is capable of some pretty amazing metal. The music is often times quite symphonic in nature and these guys can really play. I’d have to say that if there is one sticking point it’s the vocals. That said, they just feel a bit awkward at times and perhaps not recorded in the best way. They actually have some intriguing vocal arrangements with multiple lines of vocals moving around each other through a lot of the disc. If you had to pinpoint one artist that would be similar to this album, I’d have to pick King Diamond. This music is often times more symphonic in nature, but I definitely found myself reminded of King Diamond in quite a few spots on this CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
An Unwanted Child
They waste no time getting into it as they fire out into a frantic symphonic metal stomper right out of the gate. This drops back towards more melodic motifs after the introduction, but still the rhythm section pounds away. More progressive rock like elements weave across for a time before they move into the more straightforward metal based song proper. At times, when this turns more brutal, it reminds me of King Diamond a bit. 
The Black Lotus
Just a little less than two and a half minutes in length, this instrumental is beautiful (but dark) and very symphonic in nature. It’s sort of a connecting piece.
Rogaar Beware
This comes in with symphonic organ sounds but quickly launches out into a scorching neo-classical motif. The song proper again feels like King Diamond, making this track feel like a more symphonic number from that artist. This is a strong cut and has some proggy elements over the top of the arrangement and includes a killer classically tinged segment later.
Story Of A Wicked Mind
Here we get one of the strongest cuts on show. It’s very symphonic in nature through a lot of its course. Still there is no one who would question whether it’s metal or not. It’s a killer.
He Will Die
This is a screamer. It’s more straightforward metal than some of the other music here. There are hints of King Diamond on this one, too.

Fire Within
This is essentially an anthemic metal ballad. It’s got some crunch, but it’s one of the most melodic tracks on the CD. While I wouldn’t think of it as a highlight, it’s definitely one of the most accessible pieces here. And it provides some variety to the mix.

Royal Deathlist
It’s back into the frantic metal on this one. The track is one of the more straightforward to be found here. The guitar solos on this one are particularly noteworthy.
Vicous Light
Not the most accurate title from my point of view, there’s nothing vicious about this. It’s a pretty, harpsichord like keyboard solo. This is only a little over a minute in length and serves as a nice interlude.
The End of Hope
They pull us back into the frantic metal here with one of the more straightforward stompers. Still they manage to bring in some neo-classical elements and some melodic segments here and there. They do throw in an intriguing balladic instrumental section that has a bit of a flamenco approach. The vocals come back in over this and they build it up from there for a time before pounding back out into metallic fury.
E.B.E.N.
This is an unusual track. At times it’s pure metal, but at other times we get some rather loose jam band meets jazz sounds. There is also some definite world music elements in the mix. It’s one of the most dynamic cuts on the CD and also one of the highlights. It’s a great choice to close things out.
 
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