Defiant – Insurrection Icon
1. Solemn In Plagues
Label: Art Gates Records
Croatia is still somewhat exotic when it comes to the global Metal scene. However, if there is a band that does everything in its power to spread it around, it is Defiant. They already have a fairly long list of countries visited, so you just might say they do their best to break the chains that usually bind the bands to their home turf.
Furthermore, “Insurrection Icon” is already the fourth album by Defiant in their, over a decade long, existence. They have done some “soul-searching” in the meantime, and found the sound that fits them best.
What that means is their version of blackened Death Metal. Looking for references among the well-known names, I would like to mention Belphegor and Dark Funeral, especially in their later works. Some might suggest Behemoth, but if you ask me, the Croats are much more brutal than the Polish rock stars.
Yes, you have guessed right, Defiant’s version of Black/Death Metal is of a relatively modern kind, but that fact is more attributed to the production work which is absolutely flawless. On the other hand, you should not expect primitiveness of the Blasphemy sort or something like that. This album is rich with all kinds of “flavors” while, at the same time, sticking far away from any Progressive touches. It is easy to note well developed song structures that are the key to this recording’s success. Defiant tries to vary their tunes with different rhythms, atmospheric parts, guitar solos, even some clean vocals and, trust me, it works like a charm. “Insurrection Icon” retains a massive amount of aggression almost the whole time. On the other hand, the slower, atmospheric, passages serve as a calm before the storm picks up again. Nice contrasts that keep the listener’s attention.
This album needs a couple of spins, there are no “instant hits” here. However, the listener’s patience is rewarded with a strong album in all of its aspects. The brutality is there, atmosphere too, high level musicianship, versatile songwriting, interesting arranges, intense vocals… Everything a fan of the genre should be looking for.