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Album Review: Critical Defiance – Misconception

What’s this? Thrash metal from South America that doesn’t sound exactly like Sepultura? What a find! Indeed, Critical Defiance, a band hailing from Chile, reflects the Bay Area style more than anything, and their debut full-length Misconception is upon the horizon. Essentially, this record is an angry beast filled with advanced riff work that doesn’t quite reach progressive level, but they have a pretty established hand for songwriting, topped with raspy, yelled vocals.

Thankfully, the instrumentation takes a lot of the forefront here, because that’s what I like about it most. There are a plethora of different executions, such as album opener “Desert Ways” with its stripped-down, basic approach with repeated high note tapping. On the other hand, you can find ones like the longer tune “Onset” that go absolutely nuts on the fretboard with solo after solo, using slower melodic sections to break them up. The drum patterns go beyond the norm, as they do more than just keep time and fill in the gaps excellently. The only issue is that shoddy production keeps them from jumping out.

Vocally, it’s a little hard to listen to. Most of the vocals come in on the fastest moments of the songs, making Misconception veer into crossover territory. But they’re not concise at all and don’t have the unsettling nature that the first wave of German thrashers had. If you’re gonna have sloppy vocals, the delivery should at least have the right attitude. This doesn’t destroy the record though, because the music itself makes for the center of the attention, mostly. And again, they aren’t horrible, but rough on the ear.

The final track, the title track, is probably the most aggressive part of this (even though it closes on a clean note), as it has the fastest riffs, the drums fire through extremely rapidly, and if the vocals were just a bit darker, it’d teeter into blackened territory. So when push comes to shove, this disc will be very fitting for those that seek aggressive and advanced guitar construction with few slower melodic moments in between.

Misconception will be released on February 9th, 2019 through Unspeakable Axe Records. You can get it in digital and CD formats on the Bandcamp page.

Editor Grade

B-

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