Breaking Point – Set To Burn review


Nice shoes Dan.

I think at one time or another almost every Straight Edge dude in the South East has done a tour of duty in Breaking Point. Such is the mercurial nature of the straight edge hardcore band, members come and go, edges crumble whilst others remain resolute. Over the course of the last five years Breaking Point have steadily churned out workmanlike metallic hardcore. And though I cannot say I have ever been blown away by any of their previous recordings, as a live band they are A+. Always entertaining, energetic and inclusive enough to serve well as an accessible gateway band for young moshers and edgemen alike stumbling down into the underbelly of UKHC . And really that’s the point is it not?


Frontman Louis Gaultier is very much of the Scott Vogel school of stagecraft, demanding energy from the crowd and always giving 100% back like some kind of hirsute dynamo. (If any of our readers are familiar with the old Marvel comic Alpha Flight, think Puck in mesh shorts and Nikes) Breaking Point have remained the stalwart band of the South East scene outlasting many of their contemporarys (Never Again, Wayfarer etc) and though live appearances have become less frequent in recent years, they continue to wave the flag for Southern Rise.

Last year Louis joined Welsh metal monsters Brutality Will Prevail as their new vocalist and found himself touring the world and playing to crowds of thousands at festivals like Download, Leeds/Reading etc, somewhat removed from the hardcore toilet circuit. Similarly with (BxP guitarist) Andrew Fisher reviving his hugely popular ‘soft grunge’ outfit Basement for a sold out American tour and Reading/Leeds festival appearances, a new Breaking Point album comes as something of a surprise.


The first thing that struck me upon listening to Set To Burn was the obscene level of shred it contains. Tracks like Chaos, Coldsnap and My Oath all writhe with a metal influence that was absent on previous releases and it makes a hell of a difference.  Third track Nothing incorporates the type of Slayer’esque flourish that many of the 90’s chugga-chugga straight edge bands like Soulstice or Unbroken flirted with and it really adds a welcome fresh dimension to the bands meat & potatoes sound.

Not that BXP have forgotten how to write a breakdown though, oh no. For the most part Set To Burn sticks to formula, mid paced stomping metallic hardcore that benefits from a rock solid Jamie Frye production. With BxP’s propensity for palm muted crunch and china crash breakdowns obvious musical reference points would be late 90’s West Coast stuff like Throwdown, Excessive Force or even England’s The Break In. Whilst lyrically it’s a lot closer to the righteous indignation and straight edge rabble rousing of Strife or Until the End.

One of the criticisms often levelled at Breaking Point’s earlier material is that they seldom shift out of third gear, and that’s a reasonable enough observation. That issue is addressed when BxP FINALLY step on the gas with absolute stormer My Oath, and for me, it’s the stand out track. Saker puts a little heat under the snare and more of Danny’s face melter solos build a frantic dynamic that adds far more crushing weight to the inevitable breakdown when it finally arrives. Definitely a step in the right direction I think!

Louis’s voice has clearly strengthened and become more defined thanks to the level of touring with BWP and that definitely benefits his performance on this album. The lads throat is like a blast furnace and the delivery compliments his lyrical honesty well.

The South East scene, of which Breaking Point is by now a foundation, is clearly important to them and that sense of pride shines through with a polite nod of the head to some of the bands that came before them from that region. Roman Schnecker formerly of Coldsnap/Final Rage/The Break In makes a guest appearance and lends his belligerent vocals (appropriately enough) to the track ‘Coldsnap. Meanwhile, on guaranteed pit starter Judgement II, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Louis lyrically recycle some of that old xCanaanx straight edge defiance. A nice touch.


In all honesty, maintaining my interest for a whole album of this type of material is a struggle. I am an old fart and not of the demographic that Breaking Point’s schtick tends to appeal to. However,they manage keep it Set To Burn short, sweet and savage and throw enough variation into the songs to keep my head nodding and I have found myself listening to it a lot . It’s pleasing to see some natural evolution from their previous releases and I am keen see how this new raft of songs is received in a live setting. Failing that, stick it on your ipod at the gym or whilst having a run and be motivated to crush all before you.

Set To Burn is available for pre-order from the always dependable CTW Records this week and watch out for Breaking Point on tour with Madball next week . You can listen to the album preview below.