Broken Hope‘s grossed-out, savagely brutal debut album, Swamped in Gore, turned 30 fucking years old on November 21st. The infamous Windy City platter of splatter stunned audiences when it emerged from the grave in 1991 on the Grind Core International label. Replete with crushing riffs — courtesy Jeremy Wagner and sick sideman Brian Griffin — a bowel-evacuating rhythm section in drummer Ryan Stanek and bassist Ed Hughes, and Joe Ptacek’s unmistakably Neanderthal vocals, Broken Hope’s debut helped put Chicago on the proverbial death metal map. Add in vile, cleverly metered lyrics about all things inhumane (serial killers, murder), crazy (human-hunting boars), live burials (“Claustrophobic Agnostic Dead”), and existential dread (“Devourer of Souls”), and it’s obvious that Swamped in Gore broke out of the coffin early with frenzied, blood-thirsty effect. Clearly, things were brewing (bile) and stewing (brains) in the Midwest’s rabid heart.
Decibel and Broken Hope guitarist Jeremy Wagner teamed up to celebrate Broken Hope’s Swamped in Gore as it turns three decades old with an unstoppable Top 5 list. Only gore is real!
By Jeremy Wagner (Broken Hope),
5. Carcass – Reek of Putrefaction
Blame Carcass (who I love) for my fascination for the world of the dead going to the next level. This song is all about ‘Reeking’ corpses that smell so bad, the stench actually wakes the dead in “Awakened by Stench.” It’s extra special to me, as it’s the only song I ever collaborated lyrics on with our original drummer Ryan Stanek.
4. Human body parts.
“Bag of Parts” is all about an actual bag of parts that was found in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon circa 1991… I still have the original newspaper clipping about the horrifying discovery that was in the papers back then. Also, “Dismembered Carcass” fits in to the same theme of human body parts taken from bodies via dismemberment and decapitation.
3. Giant, man-eating boars.
Our original singer Joe Ptacek came to me one day, excited about this nature documentary where pygmies were hunting this huge, tusked boar and it absolutely went berserk and mutilated them. That’s all I needed to hear. The idea horrified me and stimulated my imagination. The lyrics to “Gorehog” were written and will tell you everything. It remains one of my favorite songs to play live.
Songs like “Gobbling the Guts” and “Cannibal Crave” were directly influenced by Jeffrey Dahmer, who was apprehended the summer of 1991 — [mere] months before Swamped in Gore was released. That case had a profound effect on me. But aside from Dahmer, it was Albert Fish and Ed Gein who captured my imagination. I grew up only 40 minutes from where the Gein farm was… so Gein was always part of local lore.
1. Gory horror movies.
I have always loved horror movies — and I absolutely love practical gore effects. Movies like Evil Dead II, Day of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 all made me want to write an ode to gore. So, we got “Swamped in Gore!” It’s our one sing-along song that we have to this day.
** Broken Hope’s Swamped in Gore lives again! A reissue via Greek indie Floga Records is out now. Experience all the gore, horror, and death on LP, CD, and cassette like it’s 1991. Puke your innards HERE.