Defyance - Time Lost


Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:29:00

What a fitting name for a band that puts out a disc of traditional power metal in the face of an industry that just keeps on refusing to recognize these warriors that continue to fly the American power metal flag in the face of the non-believers.

It still baffles me that the music industry keeps on ignoring bands that play this type of music in favor of bands with 5 kids that dropped out of school and had to audition for a slot in the band, never having played an instrument, and the only requirement is that they have to dance like a girl, choreograph the Osmond Brothers' favorite dance moves, and can lip sync with the best of them. If it isn't bad enough that America hasn't even begun to realize that there is a huge prog metal scene around the world and in their very own back yard, they've shunned the traditional power metal bands like Defyance who continue to carry on the very music that put metal on the map way back when.

When Defyance first sent me a demo of their latest disc, Time Lost, I liked what I heard, but there was something missing. Even though it was a demo, I felt that there was a little bit lacking in the vocal dept, and I heard an unexplainable void in the music. Brent Scott, one of the guitarists, assured me that the finished product would be worlds apart from what I was hearing at that time. Sure enough, he was right - I don't even recognize the original songs except in melody, due to the excellent production and beefed up vocals.

THE STYLE

This is what I call traditional American power metal with some European metal influences. Overall, Defyance takes their influences from Iron Maiden, Fates Warning, and some good old American metal sounds to round out their music. Their main sound is driven by the twin guitar attack of Brent Scott and Marcus Peterson, who work together incredibly well like Dave and Adrian used to in Iron Maiden way back when. The guitars are totally in sync here, each playing rhythm and leads off the other, back and forth in seamless harmony. Bands like Division and Steel Prophet come to mind instantly with the twin guitar approach - note for note - chord for chord Defyance plows their way through 50 minutes of excellent, melodic power metal that never loses sight of melodic warmth that wraps around their heavy sound like a blanket. At times, you'll hear some Fates Warning-like intros, and then out of nowhere the band plunges into Maiden-like twin leads and then back down to a soft, melodic acoustic / electric sound. It's a never ending combination of guitar sounds and styles within each song that keeps the music flowing and very interesting. There are couple of songs that get into the speedy areas, but most seem to have a mid-tempo speed to them with an emphasis on melodies.

There is also a certain coldness injected to the music like Fates Warning does in many aspects of their music - but the melodies are always there to warm things up and at times, the music can even get quite catchy. Every now and then some keyboard strings show up in the music, even a little piano, giving this disc a very dramatic sound; bands that play this style of music are reluctant to add too many keys to their music because they don't want lose that "power" sound, but with Defyance it only adds to the deliverance of the music. Of course, I'd vote for as much keyboards as is possible as I feel that keyboards tend not only to lend a certain beauty to music, but actually give it more of an impact. Defyance has done this quite well, and is still careful not to let the signature sound get overshadowed by keys. If you like that clean, melodic, acoustic / electric sound of power metal, with some crunching power chords thrown in about the songs, you should have no problem with liking Defyance.

THE BAND:

Brent Scott / Guitars
Marcus Peterson / Guitars
Scott Andreas / Vocals
Rob McGrath / Bass
Doug Beary / Drums

THE VOCALS:

When I first heard Scott Andreas sing on the demo, I felt that something was lacking in his vocal approach. While his voice is powerful and sounds great tonals like night and day. Scott has somehow transformed his voice and style into exactly what was needed to carry this melodic music forward. Whatever he did to rectify this (hey - it could be my picky ears too, right ?), he has turned his voice into a very melodic style. Gone is the coldness I heard back then, and in it's place is a warmer voice - a pleasant mid-range style that never strays far from a comfort zone that Scott has obviously found.

I'd have to say that his voice is somewhat of a hybrid between Scott Stewart (Division) and maybe a little bit of Bruce Dickinson. He can get somewhat aggressive - but it always carries through as more of impact rather than irritating. He goes from a soft intro, to an aggressive style and then back into his mid-range approach with ease. Double thumbs up for this performance folks - it's a very convincing one, and you can hear the passion and commitment in his voice throughout the disc.

THE PRODUCTION:

The disc was produced, tracked and mixed by Sean McMahon, Matt Bell and Defyance.

What this goes to show, as I've always said, is that big sounds come from small budgets and plenty of know how. Indy recordings don't get much better than this. Clean, precise, and full of punch, it's hard to find anything wrong with this recording. For those bands on tight budgets and putting out discs that sound like AM Radio, get in touch with Defyance and ask them how they did it. This is about as flawless as it gets.

First and foremost are the guitars - superbly placed in the mix, never overpowering any of the other instruments even though there are two firing at all times. Most notably is the separation achieved on them - both can be easily heard independent of each other, even when there is overdubbing going on, making it sound like 4 guitars. Absolutely precision recording.

The keys are placed right in the mix enough to give the music the dramatic impact it needs on certain songs. There are few keys used on the disc, but placed again at the precise moment.

The bass is ample, with enough boom to carry the bottom end without sounding muddy, yet still able to be heard apart from the guitars; a tough feat when your sound is totally guitar driven. My subwooofer cried out for just a bit more juice, but most will be happy with the sound as it is.

The drums are superbly recorded as well - exactly in the mix and never overbearing. Again, my subwoofer got thirsty for more kick drum juice, but I'm sure that's a matter of preference. The snare drum has a nice clean tone, and happily the cardboard sound that lots of bands favor is not present, and even some triggered drums appear here and there to accent the sound rather than drive it; a nice touch indeed.

THE VERDICT:

This is an excellent disc. It's got enough power for the metal heads, enough melodies to keep the thin blooded fans warm, it's got that cold-but-warm approach that Fates Warning fans love, and it's got a killer twin lead approach that makes Maiden lovers proud. It's hard to find any fault with this disc, it would all be a matter of preference, and this is what makes music lovers proud - that indy bands can write, play and produce their own disc in the face of a senseless music industry.

I can picture Defyance playing Powermad 2000 and being the band that everyone didn't expect to play, but then kick ass and take home the honors of being the "surprise" band that everyone loves to talk about for months after the show.

This is well done power metal with an emphasis on melodies, twin guitar attack, and impact of song and comes highly recommended.


Tracklisting:
Turn To Yesterday (5:18) / Shadows In My Mind (5:37) / West Horizon (5:14) / Between The Lies (4:15) / From The Sky (5:48) / Unturned Stone (5:51) / The Game (3:48) / My Nightmares (6:48) / Break The Silence (6:46)

Musicians:
Brent Scott - guitars
Marcus Peterson - guitars
Scott Andreas - vocals
Rob McGrath - bass
Doug Beary - drums

Discography:
Voices Within
Amaranthine (1996)
Time Lost (1999)
Transitional Forms (2002)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: December 8th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.defyance.com
Hits: 630
Language: english

  

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