CRITICAL DEFIANCE – Misconception (Album)
It takes less than two minutes from pressing play on ‘Misconception’ to know exactly where you stand with CRITICAL DEFIANCE. The double bass drumming, multiple breakneck riffs have already come and gone and a furiously attacked solo has just kicked in. This is thrash. Unadulterated, unabashed thrash metal. To be honest you probably won’t have even needed the first two minutes to work that out though, the album art, the band logo and the song titles: ‘Spiral of Hatred’, ‘Punished Existence’ and ‘Pursuit of Chaos’ all scream thrash. This is a band that have very firmly pinned their colours to the mast. In fact, the only surprise is that CRITICAL DEFIANCE didn’t emerge from the 1980’s Bay Area thrash scene but instead hail from Chile, and this is their debut album.
When the vocals kick in at about the three-minute mark - after a couple more riffs have been chucked into the pot - they are barked in a manner reminiscent of Max Cavalera; not the full Cookie Monster but not exactly clean either. You probably won’t be singing along but that’s ok, because you’ll barely be able to catch your breath as the headbang-inducing pace relentlessly drives on. And that’s just the first song.
What follows does very little to deviate from the template they’ve set up, fourth track ‘507’ does give a brief moment of respite from the relentless pace but by and large this is a band that listened to Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’ and thought let’s do that, only faster.
There really is no getting away from the old school thrash references. They are clearly a band who worship at the altar of sacrifice, solos are traded a la Hanneman and King, the songs build to crashing crescendos before spinning off wildly on seemingly unrelated paths in a manner reminiscent of Cliff Burton era Metallica and the vocals are delivered with an aggression that matches any of the big four in their prime. There is an almost slavish devotion to the form but like Sepultura in their early days it is performed so well and with such emphatic dedication and commitment that you can’t fail to be swept along but the sheer power of it all.
It all flies by in no time at all, the individual songs getting lost somewhat in the large mass of unrelenting thrash, but it is a thrilling ride nonetheless and then just when you think you’ve got them sussed, they add a little nuance to their game as they drift into the atmospheric - almost delicate - outro to final song ‘Misconception’. It is a hint that like the behemoths of the Bay Area, in whose wake they follow, that there is much more to come from this band, and they have chosen to prove their brutal credentials first before expanding upon their sound on later albums. Or, who knows, perhaps they’ll stick to their guns and produce album after album of pure metal fury. And fair play to them if they do, they’re bloody good at it and there happens to be a big Slayer-shaped gap opening in the market soon. CRITICAL DEFIANCE may just be the band to fill it.
Spiral of Hatred
What About You
Pursuit of Chaos
Felipe Alvarado – Vocals / Guitar
Felipe Espinoza – Guitar
Ignacio Arevalo – Bass
Nicolas Pastene – Drums
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