(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Chilean band Critical Defiance, which will be released on February 9th by Unspeakable Axe Records.)
I think when dissecting the issue of why most throwback modern thrash bands end up writing boring stale material, it really boils down to the fact that, from my personal interactions with that niche scene, talking to people in it as well as looking at the way a lot of these bands market themselves, the bands don’t care so much about the music as they do the image, the culture around the scene, etc.
A few bands have managed to show that they were more than enthusiasts, and became maestros in their own right. With Havok, Evile, Crisix, and Vektor as examples, a lot of the bands in this movement who are beloved are those who aren’t stuck in the time when their genre was conceived. They bring modern song-writing skills, or they write compelling, diverse albums that borrow from every era of the style’s golden days. from the mid-’80s all the way to the early ’90s.
Chile’s Critical Defiance are set to release their debut album Misconception on February 9th, and just from what we’ve been able to get ahold of here at NCS pre-emptively as a first taste of thrash in 2019, I’m finding myself optimistic. These guys are very old-school minded, but they aren’t trying to imitate the sound — they embody it, seeking to break their way into the public consciousness by approaching from a different front of channeling the heights of thrash based on technical endurance. I’m talking bands like Dark Angel, Coroner, Watchtower, old Kreator, Forbidden. Not many bands attempt this school of thrash metal if they’re into visiting old school sounds because I think it’s difficult to write thrash like this without sounding needlessly excessive.
Thankfully, Critical Defiance never fall into this trap, as Misconception is a hellfire blaze being transported via missiles running at hyper speed. It’s full of cacophonous, agile, feral, flesh-ripping riffs with a passionate, powerful vocal delivery that channels the sincerity of an Apache warrior. Their music is fast as fuck, but they constantly change up the pace with obscene riff-writing talent. Songs like “Punished Existence”, opener “Desert Ways”, and “What About You” are explosions of pure, un-distilled, technically impressive anger, while tracks such as “Onset” (the best song on the record) and closer “Misconception” are exercises in technical progressivism that nevertheless carry every bit of high-impact force and feral yet instinctively hypnosis-inducing energy as the rest of the record.
Essential top-tier thrash metal gong into 2019. Do not miss this.