WORDS: ADAM HOPKIN
LABEL: EPITAPH RECORDS
Look hard enough and every minute detail tells its own story or acts as an embellishment to a far greater narrative. Regardless of how trivial these elements may be connections are soon formed through empathy and understanding the shared experiences of love, life, loss and elation. Despite everything that connects us, it’s the very same thing that allows us to form meaningful relationships with these portrayals that also divide us the most, perspective.
Across each of their 5 studio albums Defeater have wielded their command of perspective brilliantly, recounting a cause and effect narrative of an ww2 era American family as they are plunged through turmoil, desperation, death and deceit whilst those listening witness the harrowing consequences as an ethereal bystander. But what makes these recounts so special is that despite the historical setting and the constant references to horrific events that most of us will thankfully never be able to fully envision, each and every depiction of the storylines events feels grounded, with fitting reactions that never feel unjustified but always have a colossal repercussion. Sure, all of Defeaters works can be enjoyed at face value as a through and through hardcore record, but why stop at the surface with so much to dive into.
“each and every depiction of the story lines events feels grounded, with fitting reactions that never feel unjustified but always have a colossal repercussion…”
In their first release in the 4 years since previous full length effort “Abandoned”, Defeater have taken a bold new approach to their storytelling, ripping every page out of the hardcore handbook on the way. Whilst 2013’s “Letters Home” can be listened to backwards for those wanting a chronological account of the father’s time at war, the bands lyricist, Derek Archambault takes his innovative styling in a new direction with this self-titled record, with the release being the first to be told from the viewpoints of multiple characters.
Instrumentally the record is unmistakably Defeater, but significantly darker than any of their previous releases. Whilst past records held frantic pace and brighter tones, their self-tilted effort still maintains their melodicism whilst instilling a constant gloom and sense of despair that perfectly encapsulates the reoccurring references to longing for loved ones and bodies of the fallen sinking to the depths.
“Defeater have yet again pushed hardcore into a new direction.”
The back and forth vocal dynamic across “Atheists In Foxholes”, the reverb drenched guitars and distant vocals of “Desperate”, and the ferocious guitar led instrumentals emerging from the static squeals of “Stale Smoke” are some of the finest examples of the hardcore outfits experimentation throughout the record.
With the release of the latest chapter in the Defeater storyline, the most conceptual band in hardcore have delivered perhaps their most ambitious and developed record to date. Seeing the band double down on the confident new approach to their fictional themes, the instrumental works are more visceral than ever, exceptionally supporting the striking visuals each track instils giving the release an ugly, unflinching and cinematic feel. With their self-titled release Defeater have yet again pushed hardcore into a new direction whilst maintaining its core appeal and paying homage to the genre’s roots.