"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Blessed By a Broken Heart - "Pedal To The Metal" (CD)

Blessed By a Broken Heart - "Pedal To The Metal" CD cover image

"Pedal To The Metal" track listing:

1. Intro (1:52)
2. She-wolf (4:49)
3. Show Me What You Got (4:07)
4. Move Your Body (3:28)
5. She's Dangerous (3:51)
6. To Be Young (3:57)
7. Doing It (3:33)
8. Blood On Your Hands (4:41)
9. Don't Stop (3:35)
10. Carry On (4:27)
11. Ride Into The Night (3:49)

Reviewed by on February 1, 2009

"Blessed By A Broken Heart has established a blueprint for their songs that combines the best of glam with the best of metalcore, screamo and techno."

Sit back and imagine for a moment what elements compose a great, upbeat song. Is it a masterful glam style guitar shred, or maybe clean, melodic vocals with a gang vocal chorus that begs listeners to join the chant? Perhaps it’s the short, choppy rhythm of metalcore, with a healthy dose of screamo. Maybe it’s even a techno, dance club beat heavy on synthesizers. If you like any and all of these components, then be prepared to fall in love with Montreal’s latest metal band Blessed By A Broken Heart.

Being promoted as the modern day version of Motley Crue is a somewhat accurate description for the creators of “Pedal to the Medal.” From the Mick Mars’ styled guitar shreds to the eclectic Tommy Lee drum rhythms, to the high pitched lead vocals and fondness for gang vocals, every element that made Motley Crue famous back in the days of “Livewire” can be found on “Pedal To The Metal.”

But that’s just part of the story. While they do take listeners back nearly a generation to when music was light on meaning and heavy on sing-along ability, with tracks like “She-wolf” and “She’s Dangerous,” Blessed By A Broken Heart has established a blueprint for their songs that combines the best of glam with the best of metalcore, screamo and techno.

Ear-piercing shreds can be found on “Show Me What You Got,” “Carry On,” and “Don’t Stop,” which, guitar solo excluded, features Journey-inspired keyboards, even sounding very much like their early 80’s anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The final track, “Ride into the Night,” also features a taste of Journey, along with a dance club rhythm, though the ending transitions into a mellow Skid Row sounding ballad that eventually fades out. “To Be Young” is another mellow power anthem, with a 1980’s sing along quality.

It’s obvious in listening to Blessed By A Broken Heart that some of these guys are young. The lead vocalist Tony Gambino is blessed with a clear, high voice that reminds listeners of a young Sebastian Bach. This trait is most evident in “Blood On Your Hands,” though it also appears in the more mellow power anthem “To Be Young.”

Before listeners chalk them up to a purely glam band, they should check out tracks like “She’s Dangerous,” “Doing It” and “Carry On.” Each of these feature screamo backup vocals similar in nature to Killswitch Engage. “Carry On,” in particular, offers a heavier sound, with drums and guitar that mirror each other in laying out a metalcore rhythm before ending with a wild mix of discordant vocals and guitar. “She’s Dangerous” opens with screamo lyrics and a power metal rhythm that gets broken down into metalcore.

Blessed By A Broken Heart unfortunately has an unhealthy fondness for early 80’s synthesizers.” Synthesizers play a big role in adding a techno dance rhythm to most of the tracks, but especially in “Move Your Body,” and "Don't Stop." Their affinity for dance rhythms is the one blight in an otherwise well-rounded metal band.

The opening track, “Intro,” offers a unique and enticing blend of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Guns n Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle,” with its wolf cries in the background to which synthesizers, a mellow acoustic guitar, a power metal electric guitar, and finally hard-hitting drums get slowly added to the mix. Don’t be surprised if this track gets picked up for use in a lycanthrope film.

Blessed By A Broken Heart offers something refreshing with “Pedal To The Medal.” They’re not trying to make any kind of political statement, or forecast a world of gloom and doom. What they are doing is bringing back upbeat melodies, cranked up extra loud and shredding nearly out of control, combined with a solid screamo style, that make you want to sing along.

Highs: Clean, high vocals, intense guitar shreds, and eclectic drum sequences.

Lows: This group is a little too fond of synthesizers.

Bottom line: A fun album with elements that give it mass appeal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)