“War…war never changes.”
Anyone who has ever played a game of the Fallout-Franchise knows these words spoken by Ron Pearlman. And anyone who has ever listened to a Defeater record knows that they are about war (to be precise about a family torn apart by war in many different ways).
This is the fifth album by the hardcore outfit Defeater. I loved Abandoned and was very excited to hear, that Will Yip would be producing the follow-up. He did some great jobs with Blacklisted (When people grow…), Title Fight (Floral Green) and of course La Dispute (Panorama), so him working with Defeater sounded like a great match.
On March 5th Defeater gave us the first impression of this album, the song “Mother’s sons“. The first thing I noticed was, that the voice of Derek Archambault sounded WAAAAY more quiet than on the other albums. I thought to myself that the Youtube audio would be the “bad guy” in this context. The song is by the way one of my favorite songs on this album. The other two songs released prior to this album “Stale smoke” and “List and heel” also have, some would say, muffled vocals (although the melody in “List and heel” ranks among the best Defeater have ever written). It seems as if Will Yip used the same production-approach as the latest La Dispute record.
Does the production hamper this listening experience? On the whole I would say no, but there’s always that feeling of “What could have been, if some other dude produced it?” (My favorite choice for nearly every hardcore record would be Kurt Ballou, but I guess he can‘t produce everything).
So, does war never change?
Regarding Defeater: mostly yes, which is good.
It is a self-titled album, so you will get songs that sound like Defeater. There is something from every era of the band’s sound. You’ll hear Travels-like songs (“Atheists in foxholes“), “Desperate” reminds me of Abandoned and “Dealer and debtor” could have also been of Letters home.
But there’s also something new, Defeater have never been more melodic than on this release. The aforementioned “List and heel” and “Mother’s Sons” are prime examples of that new direction Defeater are taking on this release.
The most pleasant surprise awaits at the end of this record. “No man born evil” features some guest vocals by Jeffrey Eaton (Modern Life is War). Defeater kind of filled the emotional void that Modern Life is War left behind when they first disbanded in 2006. Archambault‘s and Eaton‘s voices work excellent together and finish this record in a classy way.
This records marks another great entry in the already excellent canon of Defeater releases and should be heard by anyone who has a slight sympathy for modern hardcore.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
As usual, we added the two favorite tracks to our Transcended Review Playlist