ActOfDefianceI guess after nearly a decade and a half the editor has a pretty good handle on my musical tastes and when he gave me this to review I wasn’t really sure I wanted to. I guess it had a hell of a lot to do with Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover coming from Megadeth and forming this band. Sure we all loved Megadeth in the 80/90s but I was still hesitant about wanting to listen to a bad wanna be band.

Thankfully within about 30 seconds, after the intro guitar solo ended, “Throwback” came to life with Exodus style thrash riffs but much much heavier vocals by ex-Scar the Martyr vocalist Henry Derek. And to be fair Chris’s lead solo in song actually kicks arse to boot. (Man! That’s a bad mixed metaphor if I say so myself.)

Chris also tries his hand at backing vocals, on “Legion of Lies” the clean vocals complement Henry’s death rasp and I’m guessing that both vocal tracks are done by Henry, but either way, they work well together to add different layers to the speed changes in the song.

“Thy Lord Belial” is balls to the wall speed in a very Slayeresque way with Shawn pounding out a heavy drum tempo at a pace that Lombardo would be hard-pressed to rival.

The rumble of the acoustic guitar is drowned out by the lead, then the drums and finally when the death vocals come in it fades away leaving the main riff on “Refrain and Re-Fracture” to chug on through. The dual vocals for the chorus work well and the lead is rather spectacular.

While the guitar riff on “Dead Stare” sounds a little simple when compared to the others on the album, it’s rather effective owing to the ever changing melody of the second guitar giving the vocals plenty of room to play as they flow between clean and death but always full of harmonies and power.

There are lead breaks aplenty on “Disastrophe”, but funnily enough they never sound forced or out of place as they seem to incorporate the general feel of the rhythm riff and just expand upon it for emphasis and to add further dimensions to what is being played.

Piano and violin open “Poison Dream” which are joined by squealing guitars then Matt Bachand’s bass and the drums. Matt even plays a bit of a bass solo during the slowest part of this already rather slow song, before Chris takes over and plays another intricate guitar lead.

Matt comes to the fore again here as he thumps out the intro for “Obey the Fallen” before everyone joins him on this slightly more 80s style thrash track with predominately clean vocals allowing Henry to show everyone his actual range and control.

Keeping things a little more mellow as we head towards the end of the album “Crimson Psalm” does the same thing slowing down as it ends but still having the lead being played at a blistering pace.

The album finishes with the title track which opens with a bass intro then steadily complex riff and once more the twin vocal attack for “Birth and the Burial” works its magic to make the heavier pieces seem even heavier by their added gravitas.

So all in all this is a pretty damned good album and I highly recommend giving it a listen on the link below then acquiring a copy of your own.

(7/10  Marco Gaminara)