Arthur Seay: Guitars, Vox
Eddie Plascencia: Bass, Lead Vox
Mike Cancino: Drums, Vox
Produced by Arthur Seay.
Engineered by Arthur Seay.
Mixed by Mark Armontrout and Arthur Seay.
Recorded and Mixed at BitterSand Recording Studio - Indio, CA.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio - Ann Arbor, MI.
House of Broken Promises, though it might not win any awards for most original stoner hard rock outfit, certainly gets mad props for a name that is indeed original and which, somehow, captures the whole zeitgeist of the angrier, heavier side of modern psyche rock. I hope that sounds like a compliment and not a put down. House of Broken Promises isn't a rip-off act too. They have their own sound, though they march (proudly) in the footsteps of other acts prior that have blazed the trail. That said, the sound is suitably big, with riffs that will lash out like lava and leave you burnt bones in the aftermath. The vocals are melodic but full of grit, piss and vinegar and are perfectly matched with the agressive heavy rock lumber of the big blues balls that drive these tunes. It's definitely a muscular slam of heady guitar rock, exactly the sort of thing Small Stone has justly built its reputation upon.
- Upchuck Undergrind
The split 7" already showed that HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES (aka HOBP) don't really need John Garcia, by which I do not mean to say, that this collaboration wasn't successful. His voice was an integral part of their sound. This shows up in all the songs which he recorded togther with HOBP when they were sailing under the banner of Unida. But both parties went their seperate ways. Garcia joined Hermano while Arthur Seay, Eddie Plascencia and Mike Cancino went on to form HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES in 2004.
The above-mentioned split 7" with Duster69 has been released by Daredevil Records in 2007 and proved that their fire was still burning. The same can be said for the debut album 'Using The Useless' with the difference that the fire is larger and hotter than ever before. 'Using The Useless' fires on all cylinders with nary a break in sight. Every song is a perfect example of pure, pull-no-punches, badass, metal-tinged hardrock. 'Obey The Snake' is packed with AC/DC-like riffage while 'Highway Grit' is an adrenaline-driven riff-o-rama. Eddie Plascencia's powerful rock pipes fit perfectly to the heavy, crunchy guitars of Arthur Seay and together with drummer Mike Cancino, both form an impregnable rhythm section. Despite the ferocious heaviness, the band still retains their penchant for catchy hooklines.
There are also similarities to bands like The Cult or Alice In Chains, particularly in 'Broken Life' and 'Walk On By', although HOBP have always more dirt under their nails than the other two bands. Or in other words, 'Using The useless' is absolutely suitable for any biker party and as subtle as a 454 big block engine. Once again, Small Stone Records has taken another big fish under their wings and underlines the label's leading position when it comes to ass-kickin' heavy rock. Get in your car, find a long open road and crank this CD to rear-view mirror rattling volumes.
God, I love hearing a balls out heavy rock record. There’s nothing quite like getting your ass kicked from the first riff. House of Broken Promises do just that with Using the Useless and manage to add hooks to the songs that make them rock radio ready.
Comprised of former members of Unida ( a grossly underrated band), these guys bring in elements of their former bands, toss in some Corrosion of Conformity, Metallica, Spiritual Beggars and Thin Lizzy to concoct a potent blend of biker-esque rock and metal. From the album’s opening track “Blister”, it’s clear that HoBP ain’t hear to fuck around. It moves with a nice, boogie-rock tempo that though is often used, has a freshness that’s gonna reel you in for the listen. “Obey the Snake” follows quickly after with a definite NWOBHM feel that will make the most jaded of music fans want to raise the goat horns in homage. This point on, the album moves into a varied world of heaviness from the sludgy-yet-tight (“Psycho Plex”) to the catchiest of metal (see “Justify”). The previously mentioned track sounds like something that could find itself accompanying a bad ass action film trailer that makes you wanna punch the next thing that walks in front of you.
One of the record’s stand out tracks is the Spanish language “Ladron” which being a foreign language song, can go either way for a lot of folks. Not here-it’s another great piece to this collection of songs that consistently delivers on the goods. And while I like some of the faster tracks, I dig “Walk on By” for it’s sheer groove and accessibility.
Make no mistake, this record has the mass appeal that some of it’s peers showed yet never quite could capitalize on. HoBP could easily fit on a bill with any of the post-Pantera projects of Phil Anselmo and still got enough of that underground in their blood to rock the balls off of Fireball Ministry and Solace’s fans. I got a pretty good feeling that these guys are on the fast track to some much deserved success. So, if you’re the type of person that wants to say that you were into em’ before they got huge, buy this album NOW! Otherwise, the rest of the world is going to catch on and leave you in the dust. These guys are too good to just be toiling away in stoner rock purgatory and I suspect they’ll be able to board the rock star train soon.
It’s always fun getting stuff from Small Stone. I’ll get an email with a link to download the music, cover art and hype sheet. I always go straight to the music and ignore the other stuff until I give it a few spins. The first song kicked in and I thought “wow, this sounds like Kyuss and Metallica. Who are these guys? What’s this song called?” The song is called “Blistering” and that’s exactly what it is. Turns out that House Of Broken Promises are basically Unida without singer John Garcia (ex-Kyuss). First impressions are important, so we’re off to a good start.
Indio, CA is their hometown and city’s website claims it is “the place to be.” Chances are the bands jam room is the place to be judging by the heavy sounds these guys put down. This is full on kick ass metal with a strong dose of classic rock. Big guitars, booming bass and a healthy crash-bang-wallop on the drums. The vocals remind me a lot of John Garcia and James Hetfield before he started emoting feelings other than being pissed off.
The 11 songs on Using The Useless clock in at 50 minutes and are around 4 or 5 minutes each. Plenty of time to get into the groove but they never wear thin. “Obey The Snake” has a riff similar to “Devil’s Child” by Judas Priest and has a great solo like something off Thin Lizzy’s Thunder & Lightning album. Check out the guitar player’s huge ass beard. You can’t grow something like that without being able to rock.
“Psycho Plex” dares to graft a Pantera groove with Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold.” Other stand out jams are fast ones like “Highway Grit” and “The Hurt (Paid My Dues),” which features some killer drumming. The entire album rocks from start to finish and there’s plenty of variety so the party never gets dull. They even throw in a curveball on the Spanish language “Ladron.” Somewhere, Juanes is not happy. The only disappointment is that “Walk On By” is not a heavy ass cover of the Dionne Warwick hit. It’s a catchy, hard hitting rock song but it’s always been a dream of mine to hear that song in a Sabbath/Isaac Hayes arrangement. Maybe on the next album. These guys have a lot of talent, write good songs and play the hell out of them so I have a feeling they will be making ears bleed for a long time coming.
Record Of The Month
Oh, man this is one stone cold, bad-ass, hard rock record. Resurrected from the remnants of Unida (the John Garcia-fronted stoner band post Kyuss and Slo Burn) HOBP erupts in a cataclysmic blast of molten granite that easily stands up to its illustrious pedigree. The Indio, California-based power trio are heavy on riffs and down right mean on rhythms – and they look the part too with guitarist Arthur Seay boasting the most righteous lamb-chop beard we’ve ever seen. Echoes of COC, Sabbath and Down fill the record’s eleven tracks with Eddie Plascencia straddling his bass and bellowing into the mic while drummer Miguel Cancino kicks the shit out of his kit. “Blister” is a wake up call as it gets the whole disc boiling. A sidewinding lick akin to Pepper Keenan’s thick squeal feeds into a pummeling backbeat and chugs it’s way through four and a half minutes of thundering bliss. The deeper meaning of the song’s lyrics “I’m about to drop this heavy load / I can’t keep this stench off of me / so obnoxious I can’t breath” are left to open interpretation.
Second track, and in our opinion a beaming beckon, “Obey The Snake” capitalizes on a sinister wicked groove. Just enough southern soul with a funky riff and foot-stomping beat ensures the track will weld itself to your brain. The searing solo, ghosted piano and screaming female orgasm work magnificently. Biker anthem “Highway Grit” and biographical “Broken Life” dig deeper into the band’s twisted psyche. Gnarled and scarred by life’s arduous path leaves the band plenty of fabric to sew in their lyrical metaphors. “Torn” comes off as their soundtrack with a chorus so damn big one can only hope it find it’s way to satellite radio. Hot on it’s heels is the countering “Buried Away” with a huge open chord and some of Seay’s best playing. The drums retain their intensity with the bass clamoring behind Plascencia howling vocals. The Spanish version of “Ladron” puts authentic muscle behind the Southern Cal rocker while “The Hurt (Paid My Dues)” is the record’s first video up on YouTube - and the song that will sell this mother through the roof. Couple trax to pay particular attention to are Machine Head-like “Physco Plex” and fuzzed out “Walk On By.” Both bare repeated listening for complete conversion. The awesome album art was done by Alexander von Wieding, whose other clients include Monster Magnet and Three Chord Society.
- Todd K Smith
GARY SUAREZ’S TOP TWENTY ALBUMS OF 2009
The Kyuss family tree has grown exponentially since disbanding in 1995. And though Josh Homme continues to be the highest profile ex-member of the seminal desert rock group, the best Kyuss-related release of 2009 not only has nothing to do with that crooked vulture, but doesn’t even include anyone who was actually a member of the band! House of Broken Promises formed out of the ashes of John Garcia’s Unida, with Eddie Plascencia doing double duty on bass and lead vocals. The eleven tracks on Using The Useless are sensational, sleazy, and familiar. Sure, House of Broken Promises aren’t doing anything all that innovative, but they’re doing it a hell of a lot better than Nickelback or Daughtry or just about any other purported “hard rock” band out there right now. “Blister” is on par with anything off Down’s last album, while “Highway Grit” might as well be the unofficial theme song for Sons Of Anarchy. The chorus on “Torn” is so damn catchy and anthemic that it almost seems unfair that you’re unlikely to ever hear it on the radio. Here’s hoping the band tours in 2010 and raises their profile a bit more. Using The Useless is a fucking diamond in the rough.
- Gary Suarez
A band housing three out of four musicians who briefly made Unida such a promising threat to take over the stoner rock universe, before being broken by the most heinous major-label machinations, Palm Desert's aptly named House of Broken Promises attempt to go Garcia-less (as in without missing former colleague, singer John Garcia) on their 2009 debut, Using the Useless. And after just a few songs, it's pretty safe to say that the first question most listeners will be asking is, "Garcia who?" Not only does bassist/vocalist Eddie Plasciencia step up to the plate with an impressively soulful snarl, reminiscent at times of the band's former frontman, as well as Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan, but his rhythm section partner, Mike Cancino, and guitarist extraordinaire Arthur Seay respectively pummel and shred their instruments, as though channeling a half-decade's worth of bitter frustration. For his part, Seay also seems motivated to revive the guitar hero role in stoner rock after years of virtuosic scarcity on a level with Monster Magnet's Ed Mundell or Solace's Tommy Southard; this while churning out the thickest, chunkiest six-string tone from his rig this side of Zakk Wylde (wailing harmonics included). The really good news is that, unlike Wylde's Black Label Society, thunderous House of Broken Promises songs like "Blister" and "Buried Away" don't suck! And along with additional riff monuments such as the groovy "Obey the Snake," the jerky "Highway Grit," and the Spanish-sung "Ladron," they bulge at the seams with a level of aggression, desire, imagination, and -- how's this for a shocker -- good hooks and choruses that may actually be strong enough to finally dredge the stoner rock scene out of its widespread new millennium morass. Just like Unida was supposed to, come to think of it, so take heeds, long-suffering fans of the genre; Using the Useless finally gets that sadly doomed band's mission accomplished, by hook or by crook!
- by Eduardo Rivadavia
It’s hard to pick and choose between any of John Garcia’s bands, but I really love Unida, and they should’ve been BIG. Queens of the Stone Age big, really, if we’re talking post-Kyuss success. But that’s rock n’ roll for you, a what-could-have-been and then some script played out by a new band every day. Garcia turned out all right though (as he always does), but how have the other urban coyotes (Arthur Seay, Miguel Cancino, and Eddie Plascencia) in Unida coped? Well, just fine, thank you very much. They crossed the great divide and came out the other side as House of Broken Promises, a mean, green, brawling rawk machine.
Their debut, Using the Useless, is pure vindication in volume, and while I’ve always had my issues with the forgettable sound of hard rock bands, there have been a few that stayed with me (Fireball Ministry, L.O.Freq, and Brand New Sin to name a few), and HBP has that potential (despite the bad name), especially with the heavy desert groove of songs like “Obey the Snake” and “Walk on By.” Otherwise it’s all boss biker metal and the angry riffs on Using the Useless are shoved down your throat like raw road kill in a bloody fist. So open wide, taste the pain, and try not to choke.
Featuring guitarist/producer Arthur Seay, who notably slung his ax in John Garcia’s Unida, House of Broken Promises lays down the beer-basted bombast with barely baked boogie fever on Using the Useless. As one might expect from a band with connections to the desert rock camp, HoBP has some Kyuss groove in its gas tank, gurgling with rolling thunder. But the trio knows the value of a big-ass hook and the virtues of slashing what you’ve got to say then shutting up. Tunes like Torn, Highway Grit and Obey the Snake roll on riffs and rage rather than on jamming; Walk On By even has a singalong chorus. Bassist Eddie Plascencia is no Garcia (who is?), but he makes up in power what he lacks in finesse, and the rest of the combo roars right along with him. Using the Useless is no-bullshit hard rock, as fresh and classic as a brand-new Les Paul.
- Michael Toland
At the mountaintop of heavy metal clichés (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/vocalist Arthur Seay, whose 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 Eddie 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 Plasciencia 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.
- H.P. Taskmaster