Imagine if you found the long lost Celtic Frost demo tapes that Tom Warrior recorded in his grandmother’s basement. Broken Cross’ Through Light to Night is not far from this.
This album is raw and extremely lo-fi. Aside from the clang carried by the pots-and-pans sound of the drums, some anti-production adds to some of the charm. A one man band, he pulls from the rawer side of metal, coming across as more of a punk sound that has roaring metal vocals on “World Demolition.” The perhaps intentionally rough-hewn production works at some points better than others. The songs are typically more punk in length, most under three minutes. On songs where they do head in the five minute direction, the songs have more room to build a range of dynamics. Sometimes there are more thrash guitar harmonies, sometimes it’s at a more dragging dirge pace. Samples and almost industrial sounds are across the songs like bathroom wall graffiti. After the muddy samples when the melodies on “Total Isolation” float out of the underground stomp, they seem like beautiful accidents amid the ugliness. “Path to Extinction” has one of the more Frosty riffs that Tom Warrior himself would be proud of. The feral intensity refuses to let up as “Into the Fire” finds a smoky cloud of melodies drifting over the wreckage the drums bang over .
The crust of the 80’s snarls up with a bass line that can stir up the circle pit on “Path to Extinction.” The blues-tinged guitar seems like it’s being thrown into the same trash compactor that is crushing all the other sounds that make up this song. I am sure this production is just this guy’s thing, but there is some pretty decent guitar work buried under some of this sonic wreckage. The thrashy pace “The Age of Deceit” brings doesn’t seem to break any new ground like the other songs attempt to in their own depraved fashion. The song slows down and catches it breath for the inhuman growls to gurgle in, before it breaks all the way down almost like a depressive black metal in the final thirty seconds.
Sometimes the atmosphere is more blatant than others. When comes more to the forefront on “Open the Black Hole,” it makes for one of the album’s best songs and sets it aside from the collective din when the sonic clutter throws everything at you at once in certain places. The weird clanging sounds sit oddly against the very polished guitar lines bubbling under the cesspool. He seems to do his best work when not giving in to a more conventional metal direction by speeding up. At over seven minutes, the album’s lengthiest song gives them room to experiment. The vocals take on a more sung, breathy quality and some of the sounds they have colliding with one another are quite haunting. The doomy riffs midway in are a good call. The thing that works best about the album is the fact that influences can be heard, but the overall sound is one of a kind. Sure, it could be argued that better production might have made certain parts more effective in the context of the song, but it is what it is. This album’s miserable black heart is in the best place, making this worth a listen in the bleak sleepless hours of the morning.