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I’m pretty new to this reviewing lark, so one thing I’m still getting used to is the ‘famous’ Press Release that is delivered with the CD. Obviously they are extremely useful but you have to ‘take with a pinch of salt’ some of the things said, especially when it comes to describing a band’s sound. Take the debut EP from Driven for example. They are described as “lifting from the progressive sorcery of Dream Theater”. I’m afraid to say that whoever wrote that does not live on the same planet as me because I hear absolutely no reference to Dream Theater on this release! Driven are a five piece ‘Modern Metal’ outfit from Harrow, Northwest London (my old stomping ground) and are in fact heavily influenced by Pantera and Metallica. I was fortunate enough to see them gig last year and live they are a very powerful prospect; however, this EP has left me feeling cold and indifferent.

‘A Breakdown Of Character’ consists of five tracks and kicks off with probably the best one, ‘The Fool’. It has a great opening riff and verse and at this point I was thinking ‘sounds good’ and then... nothing seems to happen, and this feeling continues for the rest of the EP! I’ve listened to this a fair few times now to see if I have missed something or if my opinion would change and I think I’ve finally nailed it down. Firstly, other than the ‘The Fool’ the songs just aren’t strong enough, especially when there are plenty more bands of this type doing the rounds, but I think the biggest problem is with the production. There just doesn’t seem to be enough ‘ooomph’ during the faster passages, instrumental breaks and solos. The rhythm guitar and bass seem to be particularly affected by this problem which makes the whole thing sound sterile and empty and during the song ‘Ghosts’ (which actually seems to fare best production wise) the vocalist tries a little too hard to be James Hetfield. Again, the Press Release says “the unbridled power of Pantera” and if you are going to make a statement like that then you really have to deliver!!

It’s a shame because it’s all very well played and the guitar work really stands out, particularly on the final track ‘Uproar’, but the power Driven produce live has just not been carried over to this release. If the band can write some slightly catchier songs and get a much fuller production then a full length album, if and when they release one, might well be worth checking out. ‘A Breakdown Of Character’ is certainly not terrible but I was hoping for so much more.
Review by Rick Tilley
15th Oct 2012
1) The Fool
2) The Silver Lining
3) Ghosts
4) Vacant Throne
5) Uproar
"... it’s all very well played and the guitar work really stands out...but the power Driven produce live has just not been carried over to this release."