A band that caught our attention because of its members, is ACT OF DEFIANCE. Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick (both ex-Megadeth) on drums and guitars, Matt Bachard (Shadows Fall) on bass and Henry Derek (ex-Scar The Martyr) on vocals. That’s a really strong team you got to admit that. But we’ve been let down by so-called supergroups, due to the swollen egos of the individual band members or not meeting the expectations created (Voodoocult for instance). Let’s see, what’s it going to be this time with ACT OF DEFIANCE?
Their debut is titled “Birth And The Burial” and it starts with an impressive tapping phrase by mr. Broderick on “Throwback” which is a full-on modern Thrasher with its breakdowns and everything, in the vein of The Haunted, later Testament, Megadeth and Exodus. The vocals even though they follow the loose formula of aggressive and melodic trade-offs, don’t fall into the trap of corny melodic vocals. A singer going from melodic and aggressive choruses to modern Thrash assault with such ease and flow, a very mature approach, especially for a first record.
A strong example of this is the mid-tempo headbanger “Legion Of Lies”, showing us how well this band can deliver the groove when needed, and nice lead lines by Broderick, let alone the relentless shredding throughout the record that stands away from wankery but delivers actual compositions within the songs. “The Lord Belial” brings up the speed of the record once more, making it a gig favorite breaking into a groovy chorus and top notch solos. Acoustics, the heartfelt guitar dual harmonies of “Refrain And Re-fracture” open one of the best tracks of the record, building slowly to a modern headbanger with a great melodic chorus, indicative of Henrys’ vocal capabilities,
“Dead Stare” kicks in old-school style to add more NWOAHM melodies in the verses, without fully sacrificing the aggression and speed of the song. The Lamb Of God-inspired intro brings one of the heaviest mid-tempos of the album “Disastrophe”, only to be followed by the cello and piano intro of “Poison Dream” and its strong memorable melodies (especially in the chorus), on the most Heavy metal-oriented track of the album. Time for the bass guitar to breathe on “Obey The Fallen” keeping the Heavy metal-spirit of the previous song. Another groovy number follows with “Crimson Psalm” and then, the Testament-influenced title track comes to end the record in a more melodic manner.
ACT OF DEFIANCE are off to a great start with the mature songwriting and vocal diversity being the key factors to this records’ success. I’m looking forward to hearing more of them in the future, and really witness their evolution. Until then, let’s listen to this one more time!
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