Formed just three years ago in 2015 Swedish thrash metal band Defiatory features members from defunct long-forgotten melodic black metal band Apostasy as well as a former Bone Gnawer guitarist. They’ve already released two full-lengths in a short period of time and the latest ‘Hades Rising’ is a solid revival of 90’s Bay Area arena thrash a la post-‘Seasons in the Abyss’ Slayer and more recent Testament releases. Amped up and as polished as modern day Vader with no small flair for loud-chugging riffs Defiatory are a modernized vision of classic popular thrash that is uncomplicated, heavy and plainly traditional.
The more typically Scandinavian treatment of (nearly) death/thrash on their debut album ‘Extinct’ in 2016 goes largely unchanged on ‘Hades Rising’ but the overall extremity has been tuned more towards a group like Evile (think ‘Five Serpents Teeth’) rather than Legion of the Damned or Demiricous. The double-bass drumming is reigned in and the focus is on the sort of thrash riffing you’d have heard either in 1993 as Bay Area thrash was hilariously strangled by grunge, or around 2004 when groups like Kreator made ‘comebacks’ with thrashers that used melodeath riffs to hit the refresh button on modern thrash popularity. In many ways this is a nice, cleaned-up progression beyond Defiatory‘s slightly muddy debut but I think the vocals are still kinda flat late 90’s aggro-groove in tone and end up giving me that same 20+ year old headache all over again.
There is something about Martin Runnzell‘s vocals that is right in between Bruce Corbitt of Rigor Mortis and the more Tom Araya-ish cadence of Suicidal Angels’ vocalist. It is simultaneously grating and fittingly loud for Defiatory‘s cranked-to-max production sound. The almost ‘loudness wars’ jacked mix ends up flattening a lot of the dynamic sound of the record and overblows a lot of the stronger riff work. With such clangorous loudness the production causes some conflict between performances and the elements compete rather than gel as they do in classic Bay Area releases like ‘Victims of Deception’. The voicing of the guitar work is very Testament above all else, but I also get hints of mid-career Stone. Because I tend to lean towards the more obscure and divergent bands in thrash metal, much of ‘Hades Rising’ was just kinda ‘tame’.
I am long divorced from the groove metal spawned Scandi re-thrashed era of The Crown, The Haunted, Dew-Scented and able to avoid comeback albums from legacy thrash artists in general… So, about 40% of what Defiatory does with their sound is, by default, outside of my own personal taste. It might seem like I’m down on the record but I have high standards for thrash in general and this is a no-bullshit well-made example of traditional thrash metal. There are some power metallic moments, the “In Hell” intro and “Down to His Kingdom Below”, that are inspired but also a bit confusing in contrast to the more standard arena thrash riffing of the record. You’d think Defiatory are just about to jump into an Insomnium riff but instead throttle up something that’d fit onto an Outrage or Defiance record. This is my only real gripe with ‘Hades Rising’ where it feels like they’ve boxed themselves into ‘true thrash’ and are hesitant to freak out in different directions. I think if you’re more the type to rock a band like Angelus Apidtrida, Evile, Suicidal Angels or just a fan of the more shiny side of Bay Area thrash metal then ‘Hades Rising’ is your jam for sure. My interest fell off after 3-4 listens but “Morningstar”, “Bane of Creation” and “In Hell” were standouts and recommended listening.
|Released||May 11th, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Black Lion Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Defiatory on Facebook|
Turn away from the rift. 3.0/5.0
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