SHATTERED REALM, Broken Ties… Spoken Lies (2002, Eulogy Recordings)
When Dr. Rappaport brushed the dirt away, she knew she’d found an exemplary specimen, a nearly complete skull that dated to a time long before it was believed that humans had settled in the area. But, as she moved outward from the skull she made an even more shocking discovery. The cheesy olde english logo, the defiant title, they could mean only one thing: the primitive people of this remote island had independently developed hardcore thousands of years before even the advanced civilizations in the west. Her mind reeled, as she began to ponder the implications. Had this person died of natural causes, or had they fallen at the hands of an out-of-control windmiller, or a poorly timed stage dive? The sumptuous grave goods already discovered at the site led her to believe that this person might have been some sort of chieftan or king, but now she had to consider that the skull belonged to no less important a figure than “frontman.” She knew she was about to turn the anthropological community on its head.
Shattered Realm sound almost exactly like Hatebreed, which is to say they sound like a bunch of shiteating hardcore kids who just heard Seasons in the Abyss and think it’s the most aggro shit ever. You get the expected knuckledragging breakdowns mixed with some rudimentary riff-like structures that wouldn’t even be good enough to satisfy Kerry King in 2000. Shattered Realm clearly didn’t have any budget for drum editing or quantizing, so they come across as agreeably shambling and loose, but that’s only to say they sound exactly as sloppy on disc as they surely do in the rehearsal room. The vocals are, as you’d imagine, a dumb mix of charmless growling and impotent yelling, and the lyrics are every bit as cliche, about trusting no one, believing in yourself, and fucking shit up. There are also some mentions of demons, so I guess these guys like death metal too? My favorite thing about Shattered Realm is that they’re from Asbury Park, NJ, which is exactly the sort of shitty town you’d expect to birth a band this lame.
— Friar Johnsen