Review: Defiant “Vanguards of Misrule”

Review: Defiant “Vanguards of Misrule”

- in Reviews

This is some highly energized blackened death metal. Not necessarily the most interesting take on the subgenre you’ll ever hear, but it still packs a punch and kicks some ass.

The first track, “Dii Inferi”, wastes no time, with a short intro where someone asks you if you think you’ll go to heaven when you die, and immediately bursting into fiery riffs and growls. I wouldn’t have minded a longer intro, as the change from dialogue to music seems a little too abrupt, but spoken words parts (probably dialogues from other movies) and growly recitation parts from the middle of the song make up for it. And watch out for that killer solo that sounds like something from the 80s.

The title track keeps the energy, with its thrashy riffs, guitar solo that also sounds like something from the very earliest death metal bands and raspy vocals, which also include a sort of echo-y “yah!” that sounds like a Cradle of Filth imitation, and a scream played over a growl. Through the whole EP (aside from the last track, but we’ll get to that), the vocals are done in a raspy growl, that sometimes goes a little lower, and sometimes sounds more like a scream from a sick throat filled with demonic substances.

There are also slightly growly spoken words parts, such as in “Contra Omnes”. This one sounds a little too much like the previous tracks, but I like its catchy yest fast main riff and its screamed echoes over the growls, and its melodic but slow and eerie middle, which adds some variety and a peculiar sound to the EP. Its long scream at the end is a nice touch as well.

“Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast” starts with a similar eerie melody, before becoming a rather fast track with superimposed growls and screams, eerie spoken words, higher screams, movie dialogues and occasional returns from the eerie little melody. Basically, all the different elements from the EP put into one song. This is unfortunately a sign that the EP tends to be a little repetitive, and not the most original thing you’ve ever heard. The songs tend to use similar riffs, and while the vocal performance on the first track is somewhat interesting due to its weird growls, the vocals on other original tracks sound just like every other generic death/black metal vocalist.

I said original tracks, because the last song, which does a lot to save the EP, is, of all things, a cover of Field of the Nephilim’s “Dawnrazor”. Defiant’s version is shorter, also a lot heavier, done with mostly growls and spoken words in a deep voice that does a pretty good impression of the original vocalist while still doing its own thing. It’s an interesting experiment, and it might be the track where Defiant’s mixture of growls, spoken word, heavy riffs and eerie atmospheres works the best.

Some might think it’s a bad sign when the best track on your EP is a cover. However, I don’t think Defiant’s version works simply due to having better material to work with, but rather, because it’s the track where they experiment the most, while their original tracks use a similar, pretty interesting style but don’t do enough with it. Instead, they are repetitive and not very creative despite showing promise.

As it is, this EP shows some potential but doesn’t go as far as it could. You’re left with something that’s interesting and well-made enough to be somewhat enjoyable to listen to, but is by no means extraordinary. It’s pretty decent, but it’s missing something to be really good. Listen to it for the vocals and for the Fields of the Nephilim cover.

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