Assemblage 23
Defiance


5.0
classic

Review

by Ryan Willis USER (27 Reviews)
January 16th, 2013 | 13 replies | 1,594 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A powerful album that is a futurepop essential.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Assemblage 23, aka Tom Shear, is a man that has seemingly climbed the thick ropes to land where he has. He started off tinkering with various electronic acts before finally settling into EBM/Futurepop. Over the course of his career, he has been the most successful with those two genres the most, and has never failed to come unglued through the process of them. Defiance, though, in a nutshell, never fails to escape the basic principle of a flaw; there’s not a single thing wrong, disjointed, or bad with this album. It’s truly a monumental album for the man and in my opinion, seen as an apex of his career. Tom expresses his feelings this time in a more mature way, with themes relating to loss, heartbreak, despair, and hope. That’s not to say he has never wrote a song deep or emotional, but he has never quite made an entire album devoted strictly towards “defying oneself” and overcoming an obstacle like he has with this one. It’s almost obviously seen enough from the album cover, but this album will almost definitely help you get past a rough spot in your life.

His sound hasn’t really changed through this album, he still has bouncy synthesizers, recognized 4/4 beats, and his major influence with Depeche Mode (mainly foreseen on the classic track, ‘Horizon’). More intelligent topics are covered this time around, and are a spiritual experience to make it short. His melodies are much more thought-provoking and creative too, and less simple, as witnessed on many tracks such as ‘Fallen Down’ and ‘Horizon.’ The album never falls short, and is frankly a futurepop essential.

In comparison to his previous albums, and even some of his albums in general, his voice on this one doesn’t sound like a monotonic robot and it basically feels like he’s alive, which I was pleasantly surprised with when I first heard this. I’m pretty sure he finally opened up heart with this one and really let his voice carry him on, because every song on here seems to feel daring and engaging; something that I’ve only found on a couple of his albums so far. The album as well has more of an upbeat and positive aspect compared to his other albums, which is something great too. Each track is distinguishably memorable and can hook you easily. With Tom Shear sounding truly passionate, soulful, and lyrically energized, this is by far one of his best.

His songs on this one are easy-on-the ear, warm, catchy, reflecting, and in my honest opinion, practically career-defining. Songs such as the hypnotizing ‘Horizon’, to the upbeat and dancefloor-based jam ‘Drive’, to the mellow ‘Cocoon’, to his most emotionally gripping yet mildly cheesy song ‘Fallen Down’, they are all his best and easily some of his most incomparable within his field of discography. There’s not a single song here that is confronting or difficult to listen to, they are inspiring and angelic.

As I see it, there’s not a single thing wrong with this album. It’s true beauty defined in an electronic angle, which blows me away, in all honesty. He’s very jaunty in this one and I’m almost certain he will uplift you in some way or how.

Song recs:

Drive
Cocoon
Document
Fallen Down
Horizon
Light



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
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superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mookid
January 16th 2013



1294 Comments


Sorry if I submitted more than one review, this is my last for a long time, I promise


CaptainDooRight
January 16th 2013



26318 Comments


linkz? youtvbe?

Digging: Deniro Farrar - The Patriarch II

CaptainDooRight
January 16th 2013



26318 Comments


ah


Mookid
January 16th 2013



1294 Comments


Yeah sorry Captain :/, I'll see what I can do when I get home

This is Throne btw

CaptainDooRight
January 16th 2013



26318 Comments


no worries i can look it up on youtube

breakingthefragile
January 16th 2013



2935 Comments


I discovered Cocoon through an industrial station on Pandora. Thought it was pretty bland personally.

Mookid
January 16th 2013



1294 Comments


Really? I actually really liked it, I don't know, I'm a sucker for a cheesy ballad so that's probably why I really enjoyed it

bloc
January 16th 2013



34489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Classic, eh? This was always one of my least favourite A23 albums.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead

Mookid
January 16th 2013



1294 Comments


Wow, surprised more people didn't like this. I sure did....

But I don't think I have a least favorite album by him, they are all good

bloc
January 16th 2013



34489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's true, the man has never really let me down tbh.

Mookid
January 17th 2013



1294 Comments


It's true, Failure is probably my 2nd favorite by him I think, then Storm

bloc
January 17th 2013



34489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Those are my two favourites along with Meta.

I think his new one, Bruise, was also a bit weak though.

Mookid
January 17th 2013



1294 Comments


Yeah I agree, I thought it was too bland.

This album is by far my favorite, even though a lot of people didn't care for it too much



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