Defyance – Reincarnation (2015) – I’m not all that familiar with the past work from classic heavy metallers Defyance, but I will say that Reincarnation is a truly fitting name for a record that simply delivers from beginning to end. First of all, I simply have to mention the incredible vocal talents emanating from the band’s frontman as he proves his worth on literally every song on the disc. Backing that are some orchestral sections which entwine with heavy guitar selections, which are for the most part quite melodic and seem to roll toward the realms of classic rock and as I’ve said, traditional heavy metal. There’s definitely some Blue Oyster Cult influence here, as well as a load of hair metal acts. So it’s a decidedly old school performance, but it’s a good performance and that’s not something I need to go into detail about. Obviously there’s no blistering brutality here or overwhelming prog atmospheres, but Defyance really don’t need these things. The record really cements it’s sound from the very beginning and it doesn’t really deter much from that sound, even though it does entertain an orchestral/acoustic ballad by the name of “Loved Honor More 6:02” which comes slightly out of left field. Normally, I would not be a fan of such musings, but considering how well this ballad is performed and how much power and energy went into it, I simply can’t help but consider it as essential as the rest of this record. Reincarnation proves to me that the sound of classic heavy metal is still and will hopefully always be essential, with its exquisite melody lines and extravagantly potent vocal utterances. This is the kind of album that makes you stand up and pay attention. When you’re listening to promos all day long, some of those discs unfortunately fade right into the background, but when this one started playing, it immediately caught my attention. I was rather thankful that the label sent me an early copy, because I would have put this into my “promise pool” (and yes, I do have one now) from the very start. The performance that Defyance offer here is remarkably memorable and managed to make a dent on even my scatterbrained thoughtscapes. A demo for “Passing Of The Night 4:55” is included on the disc, as well as two covers from Fifth Angel and Riot. Just as you might expect, these extras only add to the original performance (even the demo track is worth hearing and it’s a shame that they didn’t master it for the full release) and work to give the listener even more bang for their buck. If you’re a fan of heavy metal the old fashioned way, then there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll want this war-themed return to the roots of metal’s golden age. Very few bands can pull something like this off, but these gentlemen have exceeded my expectations to the point of ridiculousness. I’m not sure if Defyance will ever become as popular as they should be, but Reincarnation is definitely a step in the right direction. This is indeed a band that I would love to hear more from in the future.
(11 Tracks, 52:00)