I honestly did a bit of a shudder after a glance at the religious artwork adorning the cover of Abandoned and seeing song titles like ‘Pillar of Salt’ and ‘Penance’, preparing myself for a hardcore preaching session on the new album from melodic hardcore outfit Defeater. Thankfully though, while there is, obviously, a religious theme running throughout the album, Defeater have delivered the story without it sounding overly preachy and clichéd.
From the outset, as he unleashes his abrasive style into opener ‘Contrition’, the star of the album is undoubtedly Defeater frontman Derek Archambault who displays an incredible intensity in both his lyrics and the way he delivers them. Throwing himself into tracks like ‘Spared In Hell’, Archambault puts in the kind of flawless performance that epitomizes everything hardcore should be about making him, in my opinion, the first point of call in terms of inspiration for any young aspiring melodic hardcore frontman. He’s matched perfectly by his bandmates who marry up his powerful words with a soundtrack that, like Archambault’s words, can flit between being both ferociously intense and more serene with minimum fuss to suit the mood of the lyrics. As separate entities both Archambault’s lyrical performance and his bandmates ability to flirt with both calming passages and ferocious hardcore are simply top notch – together the end result is, well, something quite magical.
As for the theme, well, following on from previous Defeater installments, Abandoned, this time, takes you on the journey through the eyes of Priest living post-WWII. It’s a subject that, obviously, demands the kind of emotion, passion and intensity that, as tracks like ‘Divination’ and ‘December 1943’ demonstrates, is something that Defeater have achieved with some ease.
03. December 1943
04. Spared in Hell
06. Borrowed & Blue
09. Pillar of Salt
11. Vice & Regret
Run Time: 34:02
Release Date: 28th August 2015
Check out the video for ‘Spared In Hell’ here.