Review Summary: I was a good band once!
In retrospect Defeater were never very good. They're a slightly above average hardcore band with a smoke and mirrors gimmick that early on got them a lot of mileage disguising their repetitive songwriting and lyricism. Essentially Defeater writes ten to eleven (AKA a hardcore's dozen) eerily similar songs and then slaps together a narrative to tie them all together. This cunning trick conveniently deflects and criticism stating that the songs are samey because Defeater can just say "Oh they're supposed to be that way dummy, we're telling a story so like all the songs fit with the narrative. If the songs were too different they wouldn't go with the story right"" Well Defeater, that's fine and dandy if you want to structure one or two of your albums that way, but on your fifth release you sound like a broken record. Not only does this tired gimmick make for a boring 5th release, it retrospectively undervalues the first couple of records that seemed fresh at the time because the trick has been revealed and the gig is up. When you present the same ruse over and over again it becomes obvious, it gets stale, and it pisses people off. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me five times, I'm fucking pissed Defeater.
The narrative Abandoned
presents is from the family dog's point of view, or maybe it's the train tracks' point of view" Honestly I don't care because Defeater have never really been good lyrically. They covered the same topics and themes in every song, but used the narrative gimmick as a flimsy way to disguise blatant rehashing of ideas. "I was a good man once, but now I'm a sad man, and it's World War I, and somebody got abused, blah blah blah" We've heard it all before. The only difference on Abandoned
is that the main character admits he's a bad man on track two, when usually that doesn't happen until track five! Ultimately the narrative well went dry two albums ago, and the lyrics aren't nearly good enough to elevate Defeater's brand of dark, but melodic hardcore music.
is almost identical to Defeater's last record Letter's Home, but in all fairness I'll list out the things that are different. There's some really bad clean vocals on "Borrowed and Broken," the drum tone sounds really fake throughout the record, and that's pretty much it. The music is uninteresting, the lyrics are uninspired, and it's a chore to sit through despite its short length. In the end, Defeater were fresh out of ideas shortly after inception, and Abandoned
continues their trend of treading water, but this time it's presented from the water's point of view!