Sharp Blade Sinks Deep Into Dull Minds

Comprised of former members of unsung underground metal stalwarts Kalibas & Anodyne, Defeatist has been relentlessly pursuing the kind of revered status in the American grindcore scene that European and Japanese bands have achieved by virtue of their comprably more prolific and superior output to their stateside counterparts. Hailing back to the glory days of Napalm Death, ENT and Terrorizer while matching their foreign counterparts in a post-Nasum emphasis on distinguishable riffs and grooves, Defeatist also indulge in that strung-out, spazztic American crust-grind angst which made labels like Pessimiser & Life is Abuse recognizable icons in both the U.S. and worldwide underground. This collection of their vinyl output to date is a preview of their debut full-length, Sixth Extinction, also due through Willowtip in mid-summer.

While drummer Joel Stallings is essentially a non-stop maelstrom of blast as fuck peppered with trainwreck fills, guitarist Aaron Nichols and bassist Joshua Scott layer thick, sludgy riffs in such a critical mass that they effectively provide a strong percussive counterpoint that makes each song invididually kick-ass and memorable. Many other bands of this style have fallen into a trap where they are certainly produce a menacing aura of overwhelming intensity, yet utterly fail in producing songs that can stand on their own merits, the latter of which is certainly not the case here. Nichols voice is on the caustic but not piercing high-end, phrasing his brief verses in the abrupt hardcore tradition. While Stallings performance is certainly impressive, ever adventurous, and sometimes even exhausting to try to follow, the band might be better served if he let off the gas and let the riffs catch-up occasionally. I mean, I know this is grindcore and all but I think the trade-off of occasionally easing off for more space and momentum to create a dynamic that makes the faster parts sound ten times faster would be a good move in this band’s case.

Aside from this minor quibble, Sharp Blades… is certainly a riveting and righteous display, powerful and punchy yet still endearingly sloppy enough to appeal to metallic speed freaks and punked out thrashers alike. Comparisons to recent tourmates Sayyadina are well-warrented as Defeatist similarly blend raw and rhythmic riffing with a viciously chaotic backbeat resulting in some intensely savage grinding euphoria. If and when, or to be more optimistic, when and not if, the current US grind scene catches up to, and even surpasses their foreign comrades, bands like Defeatist will be a big part of the reason why.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
July 2nd, 2009


  1. Commented by: dr_neo_cortex

    Good review.I’ve read some pretty positive reviews of this little disc, maybe I’ll give it a listen. Kalibas is from my home town so I support this.

  2. Commented by: Chunt

    Great review. This CD rules hard.

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