Released: 2006, Rusty Cage Records
Now here is an album worthy of a re-release! CITY AD MORTIS being a true hidden gem of traditional ‘80s metal. See, during the 1980’s Defender was one of Holland’s best known metal bands with this album being their one and only official release (there was also a previous demo, and a following single). Still, through some notable tours (i.e.: with long-gone thrashers Toxik), the band managed to make a name for themselves, before disappearing in the early ‘90s.
As I said, CITY AD MORTIS is a lost classic of traditional heavy metal. For their sound, Defender managed to combine greasy biker metal with melodic Maiden flights of fancy, adding in a hint of thrash metal for good measure. The result songs were often fast, but never speed metal. No doubt good music, but for most listeners it’s vocalist Simon Menting that will either make or break the band. An emotive storyteller for sure, but I can hear where his high-pitched vocals might grate on some ears. Imagine a thinner-sounding Rick Hughes (from Canada’s mighty legends Sword) and you’ve got an idea of what Simon sounds like.
With all that said, I love this band. CITY AD MORTIS is just such a kick to listen to. Every song kick ass, although my personal favorite would be adrenaline rush of “Deadly Peril”. For bonus tracks, we get the 2 songs from the JOURNEY TO THE UNEXPECTED single from 1989. Of these, “Tales of the Unexpected” is a full-speed ahead headbanger, while “The Journey” is mid-paced and moody. Both songs are great. “Labour Liberates” is an unreleased demo track that is another fast one, even slightly heavier than the previous stuff. Finally, the album closes with three live songs, two covers (serviceable) and one unreleased instrumental.
This is by far my favorite re-issue from Rusty Cage Records, and any true fan of ‘80s metal should make a point of checking out this album.
In current news, Defender has re-united and is working on a new album, composed of songs written but not released during the ‘80s. I recommend everyone be on the lookout for that! Also, I highly recommend checking out the band’s great website, where they’ve got a TON of music available for free download.