Act of Defiance
Birth and the Burial

Let’s face it, whether or not Chris Broderick’s name rings a bell with you is probably irrelevant, as you as a metal fan are bound to have heard something of his output.  Be it his time with Jag Panzer, his stint with Megadeth, or even his time performing live with Nevermore, chances are that you have heard the man play, but in all honesty who really cares about his past, what matters is the here and now, and for Broderick, the here and now is Act of Defiance.

While Act of Defiance’s debut, Birth and the Burial, isn’t going to break any molds in the originality department, the album really is quite enjoyable, and I have to say it isn’t what I expected from Broderick. I honestly figured that we’d get an all flash, no substance solo styled affair, or something completely out of left field and not really metal. What we actually got was an impressive slab of modern thrash, with just a tad bit of retro thrown in here and there. What the album may lack in true originality makes up in spades with ten fierce, catchy, head-banging, fist-pumping jams full of a good, fun, and sometimes great listen.

If I had to describe Act of Defiance’s sound in metal relative terms, I’d say the band musically brings a mix of Testament and Nevermore, though I hear shades of Lamb of God, Exodus, Susperia, and even some Strapping Young Lad as well. Vocally is where I was really caught off guard, as Henry Derek Bonner, brings a growling blend of Chuck Billy (Testament) and Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) with cleans that remind me of Ben Huggins (Galactic Cowboys) and Jeff Keith (Tesla). It’s a sound that looks weird on paper, but actually works well with the material.

Whether it’s the Exodus meets Testament meets Strapping Young Lad fat grooves of “Thy Lord Belial”, the upbeat Megadeth reminiscent thrashing of “Dead Stare”, the “Rust in Peace…Polaris” vibe of “Crimson Psalm” or the Galactic Cowboys/Testament groove of the album’s title track, you are sure to find something that will tickle your ear hairs; especially when you slather some pretty impressive soloing throughout the albums forty-seven minutes. Tapping, sweeping, and scaling his way up and down the fretboard, Broderick’s playing really impresses, presenting the man’s talent and skill, without coming across as too showy, ala Malmsteen and the like.

With the band’s rhythm section being handled by fellow ex-Megadeth bandmate, Shawn Drover, and Shadows Fall guitarist, Matt Bachand, manning the low end, the pedigree brought to the table really does pay off in quite a decent debut. I’m curious to see what some time as a band, especially a touring band, will bring to Act of Defiance. Hopefully, the guys can retain the catchy thrashing that Birth and the Burial provides, but also branch out into a sound a bit more original than borrowed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
November 19th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: AR

    I did NOT expect this to be THIS heavy, cool. Not exactly my cup of tea, mind you, but it’s not bad at all. Maybe this will help to silence the Drover bashers who complain of him being boring, maybe ole’ Dave just never let him cut loose.


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