Sunday, July 25, 2010

Defier - Overture of Annihilation EP (1990)

Finland was never quite able to break into the thrashing mainstream back at the close of the 80s or early 90s, despite having a few top flight acts like Stone or A.R.G., but then, very few European countries were successful in that medium outside of Germany (and to a lesser extent, England). There were a number of solid but not standout bands kicking around just below the surface, and for a few brief years, Defier was one of them. This EP, Overture of Annihilation may have never made it to a label, but it was given an independent release into the hands of enough folks that it's out there on the web at least.

Basically, Defier sound like a Finnish equivalent to the California thrash legends Testament. This is due to the vocals of Ami. His voice isn't as powerful and churlish as Chuck Billy, but he uses a similar excess of melody to the barking that creates a similar aesthetic. Riff-wise, this band was fairly forceful, as chunky as some of the earlier Stone records, but also structurally reminiscent of the British band Xentrix, albeit rougher in production. The leads are fast and frivolous, and not mixed into the riffage very well, but in all its a decent lo-fi production that can get the heads banging, though it won't last much longer than it takes to develop a strain.

"Blinded by the Preach" has some savage riffs, but its also the closest sounding to Testament, lacking only in the atmosphere of Skolnick's dark, bleeding solos. Once Ami breaks into the chorus, it sounds very similar to a song like "Sins of Omission" from Practice What You Preach. It doesn't help that the intro to "Capital Punishment" also sounds a little similar to something like "Alone in the Dark", and there is not much strength to the riffs here aside from the propulsive force of the track. "System of Oppression" sounds almost precisely like the first two songs, with more chugging, thick guitars, one of which is reminiscent of something from Xentrix' For Whose Advantage?, which came out the same year. The closing track on the EP, "In a Tunnel of Pain", oozes a thick bass-line into some thundering drums and chords, and then a descending Slayer-like melody, before some rolling chugs. Its perhaps the best song on the EP, but then that really isn't saying so much.

There is nothing particularly terrible about Defier. They clearly draw on their influences and attempt to create a similar atmosphere, without much ambition to the writing. If you're a total whore for the first three Testament records, and just want something in a similar style, then you could think of this almost as a cover band, but the songs simply do not provide worthwhile riffs and virile energy for a replay, in any case. After a few more years, and one demo, the band was merely a tax write-off.

Verdict: Indifference [5/10]

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