Since their formation over ten years ago, Defeater have become a constant fixture and true staple of the hardcore genre. Beginning in the infancy of their career, Defeater quickly set themselves apart from their contemporaries by weaving intricate stories and concepts within the confines of each album, and have gone on to become true giants of melodic hardcore. In this, their fifth album, and the band's first release in almost four years, the Defeater strip things down to the purest essence of their sound, and the resulting work is something existing fans will adore, while also providing an excellent starting point for people wanting to explore the band's work for the first time.
With production from prominent producer Will Yip, who has worked with bands such as La Dispute and Movements, on paper the album already looks like it's going to be great. Right from the opening track 'The Worst of Fates', it becomes immediately clear that this is the Defeater we all know, making their return to reclaim their seat at the pinnacle of the hardcore genre.
While it may be difficult to highlight a particular track that stands out above the rest, one near-perfect moment comes on the track 'Atheists in Foxholes'. The track is a beautifully discordant serenade that hits you with poignant lyrics like an out-of-control freight train. Shooting right out of the gate with its quick tempo and driving beat, the song develops over four minutes into a complex, impassioned excursion through striking lyrical concepts and backed by callous instrumentation.
Over the eleven tracks that make up the album, Defeater keep their foot firmly planted on the gas pedal providing very few moments of quiet repose. With each track being purposeful in it's intent and masterful in execution, Defeater is an album that is the true embodiment of “All killer, no filler”. The juxtaposition of the sub-five-minute statement pieces and the short, but intense two-minute assaults, create a consistent and cohesive record that is best listened to start to finish in order to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
One of the shorter tracks on the album, 'Hourglass', is a perfect example of how Defeater can convey deep meaning within the confines of a fleeting moment. Bookended by guitar feedback drenched in reverb, 'Hourglass' briskly introduces the rest of the instrumentation after the rallying opening lyric “The years drift by...”. The subtle, almost subdued nature of the instrumentation on this track serves to shift the focus to the pained vocal performance, and beautifully twisted lyricism of frontman Derek Archambault. Coming as the precursor to the album's conclusion, 'Hourglass' serves to slow things down just before the final, and longest track on the album, the incredible 'No Man Born Evil'.
Defeater have proved time and time again why they have achieved such a revered reputation within the hardcore community – and this album is further proof that they belong at the very top. On this, their self-titled fifth record, the band have marked their return with a piece of work that is incredible from the start, until the very end. Whether you're already a fan of the band, or you're wanting to explore what all the hype is about, this is the perfect release to start with. This is a quintessential reflection of the very best the band has to offer, a must have for any hardcore fan, and an excellent return to form for the band.
Defeater is out May 10th via Epitaph Records