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Act of Defiance kind of came out of nowhere with this album and cracked me upside my skull! I’m very happy to have been given the opportunity to experience their newest release, ‘Birth and the Burial’. I looked through the band roster and quickly recognized two names that I had become fans of without even realizing it, as Chris Broderick on guitars having history with Jag Panzer, Nevermore and most recently in Megadeth. On drums is another Megadeth former member, Shawn Drover. All this mixed with Henry Derek on lead vocals and former Shadows Fall bassist, Matt Bachand. I’m not too familiar with Derek on vocals, but the rest are almost a formation of a super-band with so much metal history. Having listened, you can absolutely hear the influence (heavy from Shadows Fall) in each track. The thrash is fast and heavy, the guitar solos are brilliant and the album, as a whole, is a terrific listen.

This being my first experience with the band Act of Defiance, I was pleasantly surprised by the down to earth and almost back to the roots of true thrash metal this album comes off. While I’m not necessarily a fan of the mainstream style of heavy/modern “American” metal/universal rock that Act of Defiance claims to have a slight mix of (including Scandinavian and thrash), I absolutely enjoyed this release from beginning to end. If this band wants to advertise that they are a mix of legendary styles like thrash and Scandinavian with American, they should note that it’s 50% thrash, 49% Scandinavian and 1% “Murican”.

Let’s take a brief look at the track list. Right from the start, you are smashed in the nose with some classic sounding riffs and unique chorus lines. ‘Throwback’, ‘Legion of Lies’ and ‘Thy Lord Belial’ are all fast paced and have such great progression, all the time feeling really familiar. Track 4, ‘Refrain and Re-Fracture’ is the first song that really hit me as being something very head turning and a clever change-up in comparison to the introduction tracks. I love the growling mixed with the harmonic intro and the chorus. It’s all very appealing and could be a great song to use for motivation!

Following track 4 comes ‘Dead Stare’ and ‘Disastrophe’, with some exceptional guitars and complimentary pacing and vocals. I love that they mix in very powerful choruses with hyper speed! These tracks and most of the album remind me of a nice mix of Shadows Fall and the classic style of something like Evergrey. ‘Poison Dream’ starts off with a nice second changeup to the album with a violin and piano intro. Quickly, this transforms into a near Castlevania sound with an epic mix of screaming vocals, brilliant harmonizing guitars and a booming pace. This is my favorite, wondrous highlight of the album.

‘Obey the Fallen’ and ‘Crimson Psalm’ round out the final tracks of the album that come to a close with the title track, ‘Birth and the Burial’. Each of these tracks continue the overall powerful sound that Act of Defiance has put together. The final title track has excellent pacing, terrific lead vocals and great classic guitar. The mix of growling and almost 90s style prog/metal is really fantastic. I really look forward to going back and discovering more Act of Defiance works along with keeping an eye open for future work. Really great stuff here!
Metal Blade
Review by Joshua Jaeger
21st August 2015
1) Throwback
2) Legion of Lies
3) Thy Lord Belial
4) Refrain and Re-fracture
5) Dead Stare
6) Disastrophe
7) Poison Dream
8) Obey the Fallen
9) Crimson Psalm
10) Birth and the Burial
"The thrash is fast and heavy, the guitar solos are brilliant and the album, as a whole, is a terrific listen."