Defiance - Product Of Society (Roadrunner) 1989
1. "The Fault"
Defiance were one of the many second tier Bay Area thrash bands running around during a time when speed metal and thrash were king. "Product of Society" was their debut album and is a solid effort. I've read a number of luke-warm reviews over the years but I just can't understand what it is these reviewers are looking for. Granted Defiance didn't do a whole lot to set them selves apart from the more well known bands from that scene. However, "Product of Society" is still a quality thrash release, with a sound not unlike Testament or even Vio-lence. This CD is chock full of tasty thrash riffs, some good guitar solos, and some fairly technical songwriting. The drumming is quite diverse, although there is still plenty of those typicial thrash downbeats. So what's to complain about? OK, perhaps vocalist Ken Elkinton, who left after the debut, suffers a bit from a lack of identity. He doesn't quite have the charima of guys like Chuck Billy, Steve Souza or Russ Anderson. Still, the vocals are aggressive, yet still somewhat clean as was typical for a thrash band from this scene in the late 80's. I've also read a number of complaints about the production. "Product of Society" was produced by Jeff Waters of Annihilator fame. While the sound isn't real thick, it's not horrid either. Perhaps these knucklehead reviewers need to go back and listen to "Killing Is My Business..." a few times to remember how bad production really could be for some of the 80's thrash bands. The fact is, "Product of Society" is a quality thrash metal release from a band who hasn't received the recognition they deserve.
Defiance - Void Terra Firma (Roadrunner) 1990
I must just be a thrash metal diehard because I cannot get enough of this mettalic thrash metal assualt. Defiance were a second tier bay area thrash band that have similarities in style to the likes of Forbidden and Testament, albeit a bit more technical than either of those two bands. They incorporate technical riffs, rapid fire picking, steady double bass and the monster hooky chorus. I have read several lukewarm reviews about this disc, but cannot understand the negativity. Perhaps there are some similarites here to other Bay area thrash bands, but so what! Crank up tracks like "Steamroller", "Checkmate" and the title track and see if it doesn't get your head to bangin', feet to tappin' and fist to pumpin'. Isn't that the point here? If that doesn't do it for ya, crank up their cover of Iron Maiden's "Killers" and that should get any self respecting head banger's attention. So call me a thrash freak, or a metal geek. Whatever! While you are busy shaking your head with disgust, I will be over in the corner cranking Defiance, banging my head and enjoying some kick butt metal!
Defiance - Beyond Recognition (Roadracer) 1992
1. "The Killing Floor"
Man, it's amazing just how many excellent thrash/speed metal bands there were in the late 80's and early 90's. It's a shame that good metal like this was crushed by trendy crap force fed on people by the likes of MTV and other corporate pop pushers. Roadracer certainly had their share of killer thrash bands. Believer, Acrophet, Realm, Atrophy among others. Add Defiance to the list. "Beyond Recognition" is my first exposure to Defiance. I was given a CDR by a friend and after only one listen I was already on the search for my own original copy. Of course when it comes to rare stuff like this my search began and ended on eBay. Defiance play a form of thrash made famous by bands like Testament. They mix in equal parts brutal riffs, technical songwriting, odd time signatures, screaming guitar solos, Metallica inspired down picking and mosh beats all without sacrificing melody and hook. While Defiance have their unique sound, there are times when I was reminded of Testament, especially in the vocals. Of course what would a good thrash album be without some gang vocals and shouts? Defiance have it all. It's a shame they were lost in the flood of bands in the heyday of thrash. Now I will need to find this band's back catalogue. Unfortunately, all those are out of print as well. Argh!