Album Review | Broken Hymen – "Shrouded by Death" (EP, 2013)

The advent of death metal as the dominating genre in the local underground is, among others, illustrated by a wave of newer bands who have exclusively expressed their passion for this ghastly music. Broken Hymen is one of these bands, who beside several unfortunate hurdles, have been able to withstand and persist doing what they love. The band, formed in early 2012 was doing well in small local shows, before their guitarist was struck by a disastrous accident, paralyzing the lower half of his body. This led them to a hiatus that lasted several months, amid their studio work and exact prior to the release of this EP. The band now has already announced a split-up.

"Shrouded by Death" contains straightforward crispy death metal that has been wrapped inside a fairly alluring sound production. Although the band has labelled themselves black/death metal, there isn't much black metal to be heard, but in the last track. This track, "Dimensions of Obliteration", had already been released as an online demo few months ago, and which signifies the band's earlier sound with decisive black metal components mixed into drifting death metal. This song includes Broken Hymen's original line-up with Subodh Niraula on drums, who later quit the band and was replaced by Ashim Khanal, who makes his presence in the first two tracks. Riffs extend from groovy to tremolo-picked segments, a fine blend of modern and old-school sounds, and lead solos frequently arrive giving a polished spark to the gruesome music. A small but significant concern is that, at few occasions, the songwriting/song build-up doesn't appear to be providing a smooth flow to the songs, mainly because of the abrupt alterations of tempo and/or the riffs, which may make a listener pretty uneasy to grasp the flow. The final track suffers from this drawback the most, and consequently the song sounds to have been elongated forcefully, although it is full of individually good guitar parts. This song begins calmly and develops into a grim assault, with a lot of varying elements, and is certainly the most diverse track among the three. It ends with an even more invigorating riff.

Another impressive part is the drumming, which is gentle and furious at the same time – good bass pedaling, and with the drummer(s) seldom tending to adapt newer and creative hits to follow the guitars. A slight glitch for me has to be the snare's volume at several points, but the production apart from this very minor hitch is decent; thanks to the expertise of Davin Shakya of Kalodin in mixing/mastering procedures. The guttural vocals, on the other hand, are strong and fulfilling as well. Since I do not have a lyrics booklet, I cannot comment much about the lyrical aesthetics, but the song-titles (and also the EP title) sound appealing enough for a brutal death metal fanatic. In nutshell, although not something that would reinvent the wheel in Nepalese death metal circle, "Shrouded by Death" bestows with some proper death metal that certainly deserves to be checked out. It's sad that these guys had to disband early, else there was much to expect from them in days to come. Anyway, this EP for now is a testament of a passionate striving.

DMN Rating: 3/5

By the way, these guys have just uploaded the first track in YouTube. Click here to listen!