The Broken’s Music

On Friday, May 14, 1993, a self-titled debut album dropped. It didn’t really change the world, and didn’t quite gel with the musical landscape of the time (had it been released five or six years later, it might have been a different story). The first single, ‘In the Fields’, would see moderate success in the burgeoning nu-metal community, though nothing compared to songs by behemoths such as Korn, and later Slipknot or Disturbed.

Although The Broken never exploded into mainstream popularity, they were nonetheless able to draw crowds as they toured, selling out smaller venues and opening – at times – for larger bands in larger venues. (They never made it to festival status.) Lead singer Malcolm James’ vitriolic onstage personality often outshone the music they actually made, sometimes getting into arguments (and even fights) with the crowd itself.

The album’s middling success was still enough to warrant a follow-up, ‘For the Greater Evil’, in 1995. The lead single, ‘Bring It Down’, would see far greater chart success than anything they had released before, and the subsequent tour was one of their most successful. However, turmoil within the band began to strain the relationships between the members – friends since high school – and when their third and final album, ‘We Don’t Even Exist’ was released in 1997, The Broken were on the verge of implosion.

Then, tragedy struck. In November of 1997, two young men made a suicide pact, and when one of them died, the family looked to place blame on the music that had supposedly influenced them: The Broken’s final single, ‘Where I Go’, which had been playing on the stereo. With lyrics such as “I’ll take that gun and find release from me and you”, it was easy for the media to latch on to this bitter and angry song being to blame, and it was the final nail in the coffin for the band. By early 1998, The Broken were broken up.

But like all art, the legacy of their music was left behind. Though it never made it to streaming services – and you won’t find their CDs in stores – you can find a recreation of their first album here on Bandcamp. Faithfully re-recorded with state-of-the-art digital instruments (because the author can’t play guitar), this is your chance to hear The Broken’s music for yourself, and listen to the legacy of a band that could have been huge – had they not self-imploded.

Happy listening!

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