Who else finds joy in the simplistic delivery of some good ol’ thrash metal played proper? A genre that has undoubtedly produced some of the most influential acts in metal of all time and hasn’t ventured too far from its fast and aggressive roots over the years. In a time where an individual can digitally construct an entire band and produce it in their bedroom all in one (not that there’s anything wrong with that), there is a sense of relief knowing that there are newer bands around the world that adhere to a more old-school formula, coming together to create a raw sound based off of their influences. Chilean thrash metal group Critical Defiance are one of those bands and although they come from the underground, they deliver their impressive brand of thrash with a raw sound, vicious riffs and a fiery aggression. They prove on their debut full length album, ‘Misconception’, that a bare bones, Bay Area thrash-inspired sound can still hit with massive force in 2019.
Releasing on February 8 via Unspeakable Axe Records, the group that formed in 2013 will be delivering eight songs of unfiltered thrash to the masses. Critical Defiance sticks to a simplistic script: they were influenced by old-school thrash, so they play old-school thrash. The catch is that they play very tight, fast and transmit a sound reminiscent of the 80s classics with Vio-lence and Kreator coming to mind. Their riff-centred assault initiates in the first few seconds of the opening track Desert Ways. Blasting out nearly three minutes of instrumental fury before the vocals kick in, the band showcases their ability to piece together solid song structures off the bat.
Critical Defiance guitarists Felipe Espinoza and Felipe Alvarado (also vocals) utilise an impressive combination of frenetic shredding and melodic lead guitar riffs throughout the course of the album, all backed by sturdy rhythm sections that allow the leads to really shine. Moving through tracks like Spiral Of Hatred and Punished Existence, the atmosphere of the music is a powerful representation of the sounds that influenced this band and possess some very addictive guitar licks. To be clear, these guys are not trying hard to emulate any one sound. The music that Critical Defiance produces naturally flows through their veins, coming across very inspired and effortless, as an extension of the sound conceived over three decades ago.
Their sound gives the impression that these guys love to write and play music, with vocals being used sparingly on the record. Typical to the nature of thrash, themes of war, corruption and violence are bellowed with high intensity, but often times take a back seat to the mesmerising musical sections. The group often times breaks into an all-out jam that sees each instrumentalist contributing equally to the structure that makes up Misconception. Ignacio Arévalo provides bulletproof bass work with a fuzzy tone that cuts through the mix throughout the entirety of the record and when he isn’t going off on a string tangent, he is perfectly in the pocket. One of those tangents clearly audible on instrumental track 507, a slower and more melodic interlude before the first single released and shortest song on the album, What About You.
A collection of tricks that includes razor sharp riffs, flowing transitions, and shouted gang vocals comprise the flashy Onset. A track that begins with ambitious string work and sees Critical Defiance channelling their duelling guitar powers throughout the second half of the song. The explosiveness and quickness of Pursuit Of Chaos provides balance to the more dynamic concluding track Misconception, which has some of the fastest riffs on the album.
An old-school, straightforward attack of thrash metal is what Critical Defiance serves up on Misconception. Explosive music played at a rapid pace, that settles into melodic instrumental sections, hooking you in and keeping you in a daze until their end. This is an album metalheads should not be missing out on in 2019.
Pre-order Critical Defiance’s Misconception here.