I was quite humbled when Armando Pereira, owner of Brazil’s Marquee Records, asked me if I would be interested in writing liner notes for Broken Hope’s debut album, Swamped In Gore, which he was reissuing? I said hell yes!
From a historical perspective, Broken Hope’s 1991 debut Swamped in Gore was the first death metal album to be recorded in digital. If the album sucked it would not have mattered how they recorded the album; however the album is a classic in my book, and influenced the scene tremendously. During this time there were not millions of death metal bands like there are today. I always purchased anything that was brutal or had a brutal cover and back then there was no social media or YouTube to listen to albums. If you did not see the band live you went by word of mouth or how the album cover. It’s a shame in only that there were quite a lot of bands back then that had lousy covers and no one bought the albums and then bands would break up quickly, only to find out decades later some albums getting their final just desserts. A sad thing is 2 of the original members of Broken Hope, are no longer with us. Monster vocalist, “The Throat”, Joe Ptacek and drummer Ryan Stanek-may you both rest in eternal peace. Joe’s vocals were disgustingly brutal on this album and once I heard his vocals on Incinerated and his incredible growls I was amazed at how face ripplingly brutal they were. A throaty hellacious embodiment of guttural evil. The guitar duo of Jeremy Wagner and Brian Griffin with some Slayeresque guitar solos splattered across the album would give Swamped in Gore some melody among all the brutality. Much variety encompasses this release with not all blast beats. Broken Hope knew the importance of a good riff and returning to it so it would get stuck in your head. Ed Hughes had some nice audible bass guitar work, something that was always missing in death metal albums, back in the day. Broken Hope would smash you over the head with a 2 minute number and then throw some mighty groove your way with the title track or Gobblin’ the Guts.
Marquee Records is the elite in restoration, remastering and preserving the integrity of classic albums and showing an incredible amount of love and respect for the band. Along with Divebomb Records, Century Media and Relapse Records, Marquee Records knows what the hell the fans and band want in a reissue. The packaging is a tri-fold digipak, made of extra thick cardboard, no cheap flimsy piece of junk. The inside has the original cover artwork, of Swamped in Gore, which was originally released on Grind Core International. The front cover has the cover from the 1995 MetalBlade Reissue. Both album covers have been masterfully restored, looking exceptional. As previously mentioned, my liner notes, take up several panels and I go in-depth about the album, scene impact and what Broken Hope meant to me and fans worldwide, as well as going into specifics of the early 90’s death metal scene. Across the panels are vintage photos. The booklet is layed out beautifully with lyrics and more vintage photos. The 1990 demo is also included. I’ve never heard it before and the fact that these songs were not reworked for Swamped in Gore, make it additionally special. Sidney Sohn has done a remarkable remastering job of the album and demo tracks. Swamped in Gore is louder, crisper and nuances of the rhythm section bite through even more so. I have nothing more to add other than this is the definitive version of Broken Hope’s Swamped in Gore that is a must own. Nothing has been left out, no stone unturned. This reissue is perfect in every possible way.
Score: 10 out of 10
Broken Hope – Swamped In Gore Info
1. Borivojs Demise (Intro)
3. Swamped in Gore
4. Bag Full of Parts
5. Dismembered Carcass
6. Devourer of Souls
7. Awakened by Stench
9. Gobblin’ the Guts
10. Cannibal Crave
11. Claustrophobicagnostic Dead
12. Intro/Graveyard Shift
13. To Die Alone
14. Corporate Blood
15. Embryonic Triclops
For Fans of:
Brutal Early 90’s American Death Metal
Incinerated/Swamped in Gore/Gobblin’ The Guts