“A Breakdown of Character” is the debut of brit five-piece Driven. They were only formed in 2011 but have apparently got a decent amount of gigs under their belts and having been raising eyebrows and expectation levels for a while.
It begins with ‘The Fool’ which storms in like “Load” era Metallica, where thrash competes with more classic metal melody and punkish aggression. Full of time changes, invention and mixture of dirty and clean vocals it vaguely calls to mind Trivium.
About those vocals – they are to the fore on the mix on all tracks, which occasionally creates a slight dislocation. However, there is good reason to bring the talents of Adam Leader to the fore. The singer is a total star in the making. One of best at mixing melody and malice I’ve ever heard.
There are no weak links here, each songs is a brilliant balance of top notch musicality, viciously effective production values and proper song -writing craft. In fact it’s one of those albums where each song seems stronger than the last and each listen more enjoyable and revealing.
‘Ghosts’ is a prime example of their expertly devised mixture of Metallica, early Pantera, classic Iron Maiden and those incredibly distinctive vocals from Leader.
They may well have saved the best to last on ‘Uproar’ which again rounds up the “Cowboys From Hell” Southern groove of Pantera and uses it to produce the catchiest damn metal song I’ve heard in ages.
That this is the Harrow boys debut is quite astonishing. Such assurance. Such skill. Such talent.
To my jaded old ears this is the best metal debut of the year. 2013 should be theirs for the taking. Far beyond Driven.