Act of Defiance
Birth and the Burial


3.3
great

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
August 17th, 2015 | 21 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A meaty thrash-meets-metalcore romp for Chris Broderick's new supergroup.

The Chris Broderick pathway through metal sure is an interesting one. From the power metal of Jag Panzer to the revitalizing thrash of Endgame to the ill-executed radio rock of Super Collider, Broderick has certainly put his shredder versatility on display from album to album - even if said versatility was drowned in a compositional mess on what was essentially Dave Mustaine's "take two" at Risk. Of course, Super Collider being the lame duck that it was, it's not hard to see why Shawn Drover (drums) elected to follow Broderick down another twist in the path.

And it certainly is a twist - at least if you're expecting Megadeth-mainstream metal or Shakespearean Jag Panzer power metal. Neither is the dominating force on Birth and the Burial, the first release of the aptly named Act of Defiance. The group, who can effectively be damned with the "supergroup" label that's previously damned so many others, play a style of aggressive thrash-meets-metalcore that makes good, if sparse use of Broderick's melodic range and the same drum patterns Shawn Drover always plays, but maybe with a little more kick to fit the thrashier pacing.

And while there's nothing particularly flashy about Drover's drumming, there's very little that's out of place, so there's very little to complain about, though the aggressive bent to Birth and the Burial clearly favors vocalist Henry Derek (ex-Scar the Martyr) and Shadows Fall guitarist-turned-bassist Matt Bachand, who pumps out the sort of rapid, driving lines you'd expect given his pedigree. But, when it all comes together, it means that the album feels less like a Broderick hallmark and more like another project Broderick is sitting in on.

Don't get me wrong - if we think about it, sitting in is probably the best thing for Broderick's versatility - he's an excellent player of just about any style and once again comes into something new and sounds natural playing it. It's also not as much a curveball for Chris as initial analysis might suggest - the guitarist has long professed an affinity for Meshuggah's heaviness and rhythmic mastery, though Act of Defiance doesn't quite approach the critical mass generated by Thordendal and company. But this is an album that will be perceived by most as "an album by those guys who played in Megadeth," with the spotlight on Broderick. Hopefully the group are strong enough to shrug off that stigma.

While the spotlight should more accurately land on Derek's catchy and unbounded aggression, Broderick is still responsible for layering plenty of meathead riffs on top of Bachand's pummeling low-end as well as delivering some ear-catching solos and licks, which are audible from the start of opener and standout single "Throwback." There are plenty of solid vocal hooks that keep the tracks catchy and memorable as well, though the album also suffers from a long runtime of incredibly similar material, resulting in a bad case of "what song was that""-itis.

Act of Defiance surely have a lot of potential, even if there seems to be some sort of curse to being a so-called supergroup, and Birth and the Burial both starts off on a good foot and leaves some room for improvement. Adding a little more melodic color to the furious red that tints the album would give it a little more exciting range, cutting up some of the staleness that looms over this monochromatic outlet. We know that Broderick and his assembled companions have the chops to make this something more. But at the same time, it's impossible to say that Birth and the Burial doesn't get its point across, and sometimes simple says it best.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Moderator
August 17th 2015


2785 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Apologies if this is a little unpolished anywhere - I'm working through a lot of personal life stuff and haven't had a whole lot of time to review, but I'm doing my best to kick through an August rife with new albums!



EDIT: Album now streaming: http://www.metalblade.com/actofdefiance/

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2015


17860 Comments


Sounds interesting, is this available to listen anywhere?

Digging: Prefab Sprout - Steve McQueen

DatsNotDaMetulz
August 17th 2015


3774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's Thordendal, not Thorndal

miketunneyiscool123
August 17th 2015


5518 Comments


Are these guys the thrashy Chickenfoot?

AtomicWaste
Moderator
August 17th 2015


2785 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Sounds interesting, is this available to listen anywhere?

It doesn't release until the 21st, but "Throwback" is on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIDbvTpPGdc



"Throwback" and "Refrain and Re-fracture" are the catchiest and easiest standouts on the album. Broderick is awesome at those intro licks.



It's Thordendal, not Thorndal

Corrected, cheers!



Are these guys the thrashy Chickenfoot?

Probably a good point of comparison I didn't think of, considering Satch's role in that group.



EDIT: I always forget Sputnik hates quote BBCode.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2015


8050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

Good review, need to listen to this album, as I liked the single aired a while ago.

Digging: Reign - Destitute

Willie
Moderator
August 19th 2015


17611 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9 | Sound Off

Kind of like Testament meets Nevermore with a singer that kind of reminds me of a more aggressive take on early Trivium vocals. There's a few parts that scream Megadeth, but mostly it's obvious why none of this would work with the previous band. Shawn Drover is as boring (yet solid) as always.





Full stream:



http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/act-of-defiance-feat-ex-megadeth-members-entire-debut-album-streaming-first-north-american-tour-announced/



Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2015


8050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

The problem with Shawn is that he is not inventive in terms of his hands drumming.



With all analogies accounted for, this reminds me of the debut Ashes of Ares album; great stuff overall, but lacks a really distinct punch.

AtomicWaste
Moderator
August 19th 2015


2785 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Shawn knows how to play just well enough that no one really questions his aptitude and just "okay" enough that he never takes the spotlight.



I think this is best used as lifting music when at the gym.

Ganoncannon
August 20th 2015


8 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Found this pretty generic, half the songs sound the same

METALFACE666
August 20th 2015


363 Comments


Prob some mac fast food metal

OmairSh
August 23rd 2015


14472 Comments


Throwback is pretty cool, albeit a bit repetitive

KILL
August 24th 2015


81231 Comments


this sucks

tempest--
August 24th 2015


20626 Comments


rly like the review, prob never gonna listen to this

BigPleb
August 25th 2015


55905 Comments


Broderick brings the riffs but those vocals are so damn forced and high in the mix that it detracts from the decent songwriting.

Digging: Azusa - Heavy Yoke

JeetJeet
August 26th 2015


5711 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

heard Throwback the other day on music choice. Hopefully the rest of the album is as good as that song.

Digging: Promethee - Promethee

chug73
August 30th 2015


3723 Comments


Throwback is sweet

LifeFeedsOnLife
August 31st 2015


467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'meaty thrash-meets-metalcore'



Thrash-meats-metalcore



meatl-core

Anthracks
September 9th 2015


6258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't really like the vocals on here, but some of the riffs are pretty good.

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

JeetJeet
September 10th 2015


5711 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sadly this gets boring really quickly. Throwback is sweet, but everything else is just so underwhelming.



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