Defeater
Travels


4.5
superb

Review

by Richard Craig USER (120 Reviews)
August 11th, 2009 | 1265 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


“Unwanted...” The first and last word of Boston hardcore mob, Defeater’s debut album comes close to summing up the story between them, but at the same time is so far away. An ambitious album, a concept album, so to speak, Defeater’s ‘Travels’ vividly tells the story of a man “unwanted from his first breath” who kills his alcoholic father; runs away from home; returns only to find his beloved, drug-addicted mother has passed away; kills his brother in a confrontation at “those long steel tracks” before confessing his sins and taking his own life. It is a grim tale that is presented appropriately throughout with thoughtful lyricism, raging vocals, crushing guitars and a pounding rhythm section.

Defeater play both the slow-burning hardcore of a band like Modern Life Is War (R.I.P) and the faster-paced fury of Ceremony, and play both excellently. This means that there is a marked contrast between fast (‘The City By Dawn’) and slower, more considered (‘Cowardice’) tracks that works really well throughout the album. The latter in particular, is excellent, being one of the best closers to a hardcore album in recent memory with its ominous, bluesy riffs, superb textural changes and overall epic nature. The best part of the song however, and this is the same for the rest of the album as well, are the lyrics. Throughout ‘Travels’ the lyrics are delivered, as well as written, with a very deliberate, emphasised rhyme scheme that at no point seems forced. They work brilliantly as short stories as well as one liners - “he carves his name on that old church bell/ so when it rings he can hear it in hell” – from the aforementioned ‘Cowardice’.

Not to be outdone, the instrumentalists in Defeater are also at the top of their game – not in terms of technicality, but in terms of creating exciting and captivating music. The high-octane drumming in album opener ‘Blessed Burden’, the rumbling bass line in the thinner textured parts of ‘The City By Dawn’ and the soaring guitar picking accompanying the depressing line “home’s never home, just a place where you came from” in ‘Prophet In Plain Clothes’ are all highlights of each respective band member’s contribution to the album. Interestingly enough at the end of that song there is an acoustic song that showcases vocalist Derek’s surprisingly good singing voice and once again, his excellent song writing abilities – although it is actually guitarist, Jay, who is the band’s primary songwriter.

As great as the individual tracks on Defeater’s debut album are, ‘Travels’ works so much better when listened to in full, as a storytelling album – as it was intended to be. The tale it tells is one of murder, revenge and suicide and it is delivered passionately and this is partly what makes the album so great. The calm, measured but still furious vocal delivery and direct, poetic lyrics may be the highlight of the album, but that’s not to say the instrumentation is weak. Simply put, everything comes together on ‘Travels’ to make it one of the best debut hardcore albums in recent memory. Defeater are destined for bright things.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Scenegirlsdontbang
August 11th 2009


106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album rules

accompliceofmydeath
August 11th 2009


4302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tried to buy this at the Bridge 9 Tent at Warped Tour. Unfortunately, they were sold out.

Digging: Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning

Sonicboomer
August 12th 2009


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is fantastic, I was very impressed!

These guys were pretty amazing live too, just to add to it!

fireaboveicebelow
August 12th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah they where

shindip
November 12th 2009


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

amazing hardcore album. the cover is so eerie and depressing too

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, but you ruined the ending for me here.

i realized it was a concept a few songs in, went to this review, and was let down a sentence from the end of the first paragraph.

its okay though, i was pretty sure it was going to happen.

it was a pretty awesome first listen.

pos'd

Captain North
March 26th 2010


6792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Intense album. I really want to hear Cowardice live at some point.

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm going to see them tomorrow, and never heard of them, which is why i picked this up.

Go figure.

Captain North
March 26th 2010


6792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Learn those lyrics fast then, so you can scream them into the mic. Damn underground bands never travelling overseas.

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, im chilling on a lyric site reading it all, and trying to remember it.

they are going to europe this summer, if thats any consolation...



Captain North
March 26th 2010


6792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unfortunately not. Australia is where its at (although if they pay attention to facebook, they get more requests to come here than anywhere else)

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sorry.


they really remind me of Verse, and i think the vocalist of Verse is on a song on this. i heard his voice near the middle of one of the songs.

edit: He's in 'prophet in plain clothes'. "homes never home!" and one of his curdling yells i recognize...if youve heard some Verse, you'll know what i mean.

URURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

Captain North
March 26th 2010


6792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You sure? Their vocals are just generally similar I think.

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

listen to that part again in headphones.


1:05 . He's the echoed 'how does it feel?' and the 'URRRRAAAHHHHH', followed by the 'home's never home' area. his voice is a little screechier.

its totally cool, and makes me like that song more because verse is one of my favorite hardcore bands.RIP. at least i got to go on a road trip to see them with have heart before they both broke up.

CrackTheSkye
March 26th 2010


726 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That’s the guitarist of Defeater doing those screams. He produced Verses last album I think.

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

its sounds an awful lot like Verse though...

no biggie though.

its just fucking awesome is all.

CrackTheSkye
March 26th 2010


726 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It might be, maybe I'm getting it confused with Cowardice.

Indeed it is.



IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

im sitting here digging through all the info on this album now. XD


CrackTheSkye
March 26th 2010


726 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Check out Lost Ground if you haven't already. Not quite as good as this, but still really good.
Main character in it is the Prophet In Plain Clothes.

IRAI
March 26th 2010


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i got both at the same time, and am listening to them one after the other. both are 4.5 worthy.

kinda getting pumped to see them tonight now.

theyre getting awesome.

and i love me some good concept albums, and that's all they have. XD



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