Four years between records has Defeater fans itching for a new release, well may 10 2019 has come upon us and it’s here. When a band comes out with a self titled album there’s an instinctual reaction from a listener, either the band didn’t come up with something stand out enough to set them apart and decided to go with a self titled record, or the band has reached a point where they have made something unique enough to only sound like “insert band”. Defeater very much falls into the latter, creating something that is so “defeater” sounding yet breathing new life and new energy not only into their music but the hardcore scene as a whole.
Being one of the most consistent bands to come out of any genre, Defeater has their reached and broaden their horizons with their fifth studio release, with the magic touch of producer Will Yip, the self titled released kicks in your teeth within the first few moments of the opening track “The Worst of Fates” and doesn’t let up and doesn’t feel regret about it. The band has always kept the energy up throughout their career, creating lyrical and instrumental energy that can’t honestly be touched. What holds this record above all else, is that with the energy they have created grooves in many songs. Hardcore music will typically have a solid beat backing the guitars and vocals, but groovy seems unlikely with the chaotic nature that is the sound. Much like Balance and Composure and Foxing have done in their respective fields, Defeater has created drum beats and bass sections in which you can’t help but feel a sense of growth and integration that bands tend to ignore while releasing new music. Eleven years in and the band clearly doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in the artistic direction of the band.
“Mothers’ Sons” being one of the singles released seems extremely appropriate, feeling like we picked up right where we left off with the band, the track gives that familiar feel right off the bat and yet allows that groovy sensation to not overtake by enhance the track. With sections of the track being backed with flowing bass lines and heavy bass in the drums, you find your going to side to side and not head banging which while surprising is also a beautiful moment not only in the single but the album as a whole. “Atheists in foxholes” shows shining moments of standalone vocals or vocals held up by guitar feedback giving a break and heavy emotional component to the track. “List and Heel” being another one of the singles, gives you exactly what you want, with heavy riffs, pounding drums and the aggressive vocals from Derek Archambault. The album as a whole fits so perfectly and “List and Heel” is certainly one of those tracks that helps with this. The transitions of each track are seamless and feels like a complete story instead of chapters being divided up.
Defeater has also become a band that ends their records with one or two slower or acoustic tracks that give a nice break to the heaviness of their records. “Defeater” doesn’t do that, it’s a full hardcore album that will not and doesn’t want to let up. It grabs your hand to lead you through, snaps your wrist, checks on your to make sure you’re okay but won’t bring you to the hospital.