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EP Review: Driven – A Breakdown Of Character

Driven are Adam (Vocals) Rory (Guitar) Dave (Guitar) Fazz (Bass) and Hov (Drums)They first came to my attention when I saw them play at the Mitre in Stourbridge about a month ago. The venue isn’t exactly conducive to great sounding live music but these guys put on a really good set regardless.

A Breakdown Of Character is the band’s debut EP and it is big, and it is heavy. The type of record that after listening to it will leave you in need of a lie down and some paracetamol.

I would be lying if I said that opening track ‘The Fool’ broke you in gently. It’s a perfect introduction to what the band are all about. The riffs are huge, the guitar work is fantastic and the vocal blends between a more traditional heavy rock sound and more of a metal type scream.

After such a good opening track ‘Silver Lining’ is a bit of a let-down though. The track opens with the ‘scream’ vocal and at 300 mph with a thundering guitar riff, but vocal wise starting off so aggressively leaves the song with nowhere to go. You can’t build to a crescendo if your crescendo has already been and gone. The screaming just seems to be a little overdone, which is a shame because on a purely instrumental level the track is incredibly impressive; there are numerous progressions and the riffs are fantastic. The song did grow on me the more I heard it but it just feels like they are trying too hard.

The opening to ‘Ghosts’ couldn’t be more of contrast to what has gone before, it’s incredibly low key and stripped back. But contrast and variety are good. That’s not to say that this is some sort of ballad it isn’t long before everything kicks back up to full throttle, and the guitar solo towards the end is sensational, and as I have said before as musicians they are really impressive, you will struggle to find better.

‘Vacant Throne’ is the other track off the record that I couldn’t warm to. I just don’t get it. The fast switching between the singing and the screaming take away from the flow of the song and at times the scream feels unnecessary. Again I think the central riff is great and there is a brilliant little interlude but as a whole the track really didn’t do anything for me.

The EP rounds out with ‘Uproar’ which is my favourite track by some distance. I think it’s the most well rounded and makes the most of the bands talents. Much like ‘The Fool’ this is what could potentially make the band so brilliant. Progressions, fantastic vocals, simply awesome guitars and a false finish, it’s all there, it has all the elements to make these guys a great band and does make this a great song.

Turn the volume up while you’re playing this record in your car and you’ll be testing the accuracy of the local speed cameras in no time. There is no time to breathe as the 5 tracks hammer by, but at times I do think it is almost a little too full on. I wish more was made of frontman Adam’s singing voice as he can clearly sing and I don’t think that it is utilised enough. As I mentioned above as musicians these guys are first rate, but I’m just left with a feeling of what might have been. As a body of work it’s just too inconsistent, the highs admittedly are very high but there are those couple of tracks which let it down.

There is the potential for something brilliant here, but right now sadly A Breakdown Of Character is a story of nearly but not quite.

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