When you’re a Swede you can’t go through the streets without at least bumping into a (melo-) Death Metal band member once a week. On the other hand it’s quite difficult to spot a Thrash Metal dude. All hail Defiatory, a Swedish Thrash band that pretty much does it the American way. On May 11th, their second full cd Hades Rising will rise upon us through Black Lion Records.
The origin is Scandinavian but the sound is very much inspired by the Bay Area Thrash movement. At least, that’s what the promo promosed me. I needed no extra motivation and took it out for a few spins as I’m not all too familiar with Nordic Thrash and I’m lately in a period of my life where I enjoy those Nordic sounds a lot. Pushing my 40’s, I’m still convinced that it’s never too late to learn a few things. No wonder I love metal in general; it keeps surprising me, even geographically.
The band was formed in 2015 and their debut Extinct came out in 2016. I did my research, and that album got some mixed reviews going from wow to meh. It usually depends on the taste of the reviewer. The meh’s were usually a result of boredom throughout the album itself. To be honest, I’m not a big Thrash fan and it tends to bore me a few songs in. But I stepped outside my comfort zone and went in, head-on.
The first track “In Hell” marks the path for the direction of the sound. A very catchy melody that ends up in some serious riffing that’s on full attack mode, not giving up at all. Martin Rumzell’s vocals are pretty easy to understand and by no means raspy or rough. But it’s surely thrashy, no heavy metal cries here.
The heavy riffing squad continues to fire upon us in “Dance Of The Dead”, leaving us no difference in sound from the opening track. This changes in “King In Yellow”, where a dark voice takes you through the intro to reach the opening scream, ending up in a very catchy (if you can use that word in Thrash – hell, Exodus is catchy as fuck so why not?) sing-along kind of song. Then there's a very Slayer-esque sound coming from “Death Takes Us All” where they scream the title like the old American farts do in “War Ensemble”. Short, quick and catchy stuff.
The Norsemen know what darkness means and lots of bands from the Viking-area are pretty good in incorperating that aspect into their sound. Defiatory can’t run away from that and added this to the track “Morningstar”, subtly screwing that aspect with unexpected little melodies that suddenly seem to show up, only to end in a true headbang party. It’s a flow that’s interrupted in “Bane Of Creation” where the melody returns in form. Solo’s you say? Yep, all present in “All That Remains”.
The album’s last song is the title track and I believe that the Thrashers decided to make this song memorable through the usage of simple (in theory, not execution) riffs and easy to remember lyrics. What other band do we think of when we hear them say “Welcome To Hell!”? You know the answer, and it’s no shame. It’s a damn catchy phrase and we all love to yell it as a crowd.
The Scandinavian influence on Hades Rising is ...catchiness. But that’s the only thing they took with them. The music is 90% pure American Thrash. They must have listened closely to the meh reviews and decided to add some catch to the songs. This makes it easier for fans with a broader taste to find something interesting and keep their attention throughout the whole album. But by no means do they over use this aspect. It’s all pretty subtle, it won’t scare away the die-hards. I’ll explain this by example. I have reviewed this album on my computer, using VLC mediaplayer to play the MP3’s from the promo, of course with some very decent in-ear headphones. In VLC, you can use a simple mouseclick to change the position in the song’s timeline. When I actually did do one of those clicks, it made no real difference to the overall experience of the song. It’s like you haven’t done it at all. And you don’t really have a negative result either. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s all in the ear of the beholder. A die-hard Thrash fan won’t care. Lots of others might. The subtle injection of melody is certainly there, and I’m convinced that the others might just keep listening till the end this time.
The way the music is being written and played is pretty decent. These times, bands surely know how to do some good production on their material. No part is moved too much to the front or back. Every musician in Defiatory knows what they're doing with their instrument or voice. And as I mentioned before, they learned from the bad/positive criticism and added a subtle aspect to their sound. But it remains Thrash, making the songs sound very much alike. The subtle injections do however work. It will of course depend on the person, but die-hards will certainly love it!
Martin Runnzell: Vocals
Ronnie Björnström: Guitars
Ludvig Johansson: Lead Guitars
Patrik Wall: Bass
Jon Skäre: Drums