At the mountaintop of heavy metal clich?s (and quite a mountain it is) sits the mighty ?Formed from the ashes of.? It is the ultimate, beating out the many variations on ?shred? and any use of ?brutal? you can imagine. Imagine any (every) local band press release: ?Formed from the ashes of Three Bands You Never Heard, New Band X is totally shredding brutal?? and so forth. Happens all the time. So when you see it in the next paragraph, please feel free to wink back.
Formed from the ashes of Unida, Indio, CA, desert trio House of Broken Promises make their debut offering in the meaty riffs of Using the Useless (Small Stone), combining accessibility with desert fuzz and a raucous catchiness. At the helm is righteously-bearded guitarist Arthur Seay, and bassist Eddie Pasciencia‘s vocal delivery reminds of one-time Unida frontman John Garcia but comes on unhinged and confrontational where the former Kyuss/current Hermano singer was more controlled. The commonality is largely in using the gut as the launch point for their voices.
Seay?s guitar sounds downright huge from the start of ?Blister? and remains so for the rest of Using the Useless, but fortunately the bass of Plasciencia and Mike Cancino?s drumming are equally massive, so although the songs are clearly based around the riffs, the rhythm section mounts a considerable presence. Both Seay and Cancino contribute vocals as well. Hand-claps, gang shouts and a low in the mix female orgasm permeate ?Obey the Snake,? in the first demonstration of House of Broken Promises? commercial tendencies, which pop up again later on ?Torn,? where the central riff follows a progression similar to Corrosion of Conformity?s ?Shake Like You? while the vocals take a turn in the direction of Skid Row?s ?18 and Life.? If this song doesn?t end up in a video game somewhere, there?s no justice in the universe.
Though the ground covered lyrically is largely typical of the stoner breadth — see ?Physco Plex,? ?Buried Away? and ?Walk on By? — that Seay as a songwriter would tend toward rigid verse/chorus structures isn?t necessarily surprising. The influences House of Broken Promises are straightforward and Seay?s time working as a guitar tech for Slipknot is bound to have an effect on his drive one way or the other. Not to say the band is n?-metal in any way, shape or form, just that if the landscape of radio rock saw fit to include stoner bands, these guys would already be huge. And although a metalcore-style breakdown shows up in ?Torn,? it soon gives way to the riff-fest already in progress.
After their Death in Pretty Wrapping four-song demo and their split 7? with Germany?s Duster 69 — not to mention the Unida link for Seay, Plasciencia and Cancino — expectations for Using the Useless were tall, but House of Broken Promises deliver almost entirely across the board with lock-up-yer-daughters cojones rock bent on leaving tire marks and bruises to remember them by. It ain?t artsy, ambient or progressive, but for steak and potatoes stoner metal, the trio seem to have brought enough testosterone for everyone to enjoy.
Tags: California, House of Broken Promises, House of Broken Promises Using the Useless, Indio, Small Stone, Small Stone Records, Using the Useless