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Act Of Defiance
Birth And The Burial
Released: 2015, Metal Blade Records
In 2014 metal fans witnessed the much-publicised departure of drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick from Megadeth. When they joined Megadeth, both were viewed by fans as a much-needed shot in the arm to the band, so their departure threw up a few red flags…notwithstanding the obviously lacklustre effort that was their last record with the band, SUPER COLLIDER. While Dave Mustaine has taken some veiled shots at the guys, the two have kept largely quiet on the split and instead focused their efforts on creating a new band, Act of Defiance. In this group they are joined by Shadows Fall guitarist Matt Bachand, and ex-Lilitu and Scar the Martyr vocalist Henry Bonner. That’s a lot of metallic talent right there, so my expectations were quite high for this group.
So, what are these guys acting defiantly against? Only they know for sure, but if this music is any indication, it was the presumably stifling musical atmosphere in their previous band because BIRTH AND THE BURIAL is one pissed off, aggressive album! Musically, it’s a heaping load of classic and modern thrash, mixed with dashes of the other members’ metalcore background. If this is the music that Drover and Broderick truly want to play, it’s clear that leaving Megadeth was the right decision as Mustaine hasn’t written music this pissed off in years Tracks like “Legion of Lies” and “Dead Stare” pulse with a thrash ethic that grabs you and doesn’t let go, and there’s no let up throughout the albums 10 tracks and 45+ minutes.
Unfortunately, that band’s occasional foray into metalcore-inspired breakdowns can be a bit jarring and breaks the flow of an otherwise excellent thrash song. And I’m sorry to say it, but if there’s a weak link in the band, it’s got to be Bonner, whose shouty vocals are generic at best and grating at worst. At times it sounds like he’s going for a Tom Araya-type haranguing approach, but he doesn’t have the charisma to pull it off. As the album progresses, he does show off a more dynamic range and personality, so there’s definitely promise there. Also, it’s a small thing and I’m sure he’s enjoying himself, but I can’t help but feel Bachand’s talents are being wasted as “just” a bass player – his guitar skills are too strong for that! I’d suggest the band hire a dedicated bassist and let Bachand and Broderick really tear up the guitars on the next album.
All in all, I was very pleased with BIRTH AND THE BURIAL; it’s a focused, heavy, shredding effort by industry veterans that’s grown on me the more I’ve listened to it. Hopefully they stick with it as the next album could be even better!
2) Legion of Lies
3) Thy Lord Belial
4) Refrain and Re-fracture
5) Dead Stare
7) Poison Dream
8) Obey the Fallen
9) Crimson Psalm
10) Birth and the Burial
Henry Derek Bonner: Vocals
Chris Broderick: Guitar
Matthew Bachand: Bass
Shawn Drover: Drums
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