And now introducing: In Flames from Tampere, Finland!
No, wait, that doesn't sound right, does it? Aren't they from Sweden?
Sorry, I'm being a bit silly, but the point is that I hear a lot of In Flames in this fourth studio release from Masterstroke. It's not entirely fair to say that they just sound like the melodic death metal heroes from Gothenburg; there's also a fair amount of Nevermore and some undefinable power metal influences in there.
This is not a bad thing, mind you. 'Broken' is a rock solid release with a bunch of finely wrought and powerful tunes as well as chugging riffs in abundance.
That said, there's still a few steps to the first league for Masterstroke. They never QUITE come into their own, one senses, rather than standing on the shoulders of the giants, they're barely holding a hand on the giant's shoulder and is still trying to pull themselves up that one last inch it takes to be not just a master stroke but also in the master class.
Good effort and a well-worth listen for fans of punch and melody combined, though. Definitely recommended.