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Defiant - Insurrection Icon

Insurrection Icon
by Chris Hawkins at 30 June 2018, 12:47 PM

While many bands are slated to be reviewed after hearing for the first time, it is extremely rare when a band creeps in undetected, yet ultimately praise-worthy and stunning.  Such is the case with DEFIANT.  The band hails from Croatia and was formed in 2005, starting out playing Melodic Death Metal but drifting toward the Blackened Death Metal sub-genre (thankfully).  This album came as a complete surprise, and upon first listening left this reviewer jaw-dropped and head-spinning from the polished delivery of this album.  This is truly a band that more fans of Extreme Metal need to hear.

"Solemn in Plagues" opens the album with a kick to the throat.  It bears the intensity of classic MORBID ANGEL and the polish of EMPEROR.  The song incorporates elements of both sides of the fence, and ultimately, the band harvests the prime aspects of Black Metal and Death Metal.  It's like a thick, cacophonous, blinding ritual of storms surrounding the listener and methodically seeping into the deepest, darkest recesses of the mind.  The third track is the title track and begins with a furious, driving tremolo-picked riff to frame the song.  After the 1:15 mark, a quick clean interlude paves the way for a slaughtering, chugging breakdown.  The guitar is undeniably massive, akin to early impressions of "Necroticism"-era CARCASS or MORBID ANGEL's "Covenant".

The intensity of the previous tracks is maintained on fifth track, "Of Eternity and Trembling".  It's baffling how a band can keep up the consistency of brutality as such without the songs blending together, but surprisingly, each of these tracks completely hold up on their own.  "Viva Dolorosa," the seventh track, conveys a brooding, malevolent vibe.  The song is aided by a plentiful variety of dynamics.  Halfway through, the guitar locks in with the drums for a classic tremolo-picked line while the bass rages underneath with its own unique concoction.  The final track, "A Hymn to Uncreation," erupts with a dark display of Black Metal-inspired chords before quickly changing to match the fury already conjured.  A haunting melody of chorus-drenched guitar plays over palm-muted rhythms.   This song undoubtedly ties the album together and could even be the first track.

Vocally, the singer dwells in low guttural growls and violent shouts.  The drums are absolutely solid, not over-processed, and showcase a mature master of the skins, able to inject variety into the music.  Thankfully, the bass is not buried in the mix and exists as its own entity as it rumbles beneath the guitar, constantly moving and pulsing.  The guitars are Extreme Metal's blueprint.  There is plentiful girth with the ample mids, chunk with the lows, and the sound is blessed finally with the treble being dialed back in the style of Trey Azagthoth.  True skill is employed switching from technical Death Metal riffs to dissonant, atmospheric chords rooted in Black Metal.

To sum the band's sound up, they have the precision and execution of elite, classic Death Metal such as IMMOLATION with the vibe of brooding, wicked Black Metal reminiscent at times of ZYKLON and even DISSECTION.  Much like BEHEMOTH, the band employs the blueprint for the ultimate Extreme Metal sound.  It's a thunderous, natural, organic rumble.  Every instrument is tweaked to perfection.  The picking patterns of the guitars are clearly translated and the bass is fully audible throughout.  What the tracks lack ultimately in diversity, the production amply makes up for.  This is an album that countless bands would give to their prospective producers to aim for its sound.  Croatia has now made its presence known firmly in the scene!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Solemn in Plagues
2. Phosphorous Venus
3. Insurrection Icon
4. One With Chaos
5. Of Eternity and Trembling
6. God of the Gaps
7. Viva Dolorosa
8. Coffin Rebirth
9. Sulfur and Void
10. Casus Vir
11.  A Hymn to Uncreation
Kristijan Krpan – Lead Guitar
Mislav Gojo - Bass
Leonardo Marković – Drums
Tomislav Debelić– Guitar
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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Edited 18 October 2019

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