Sound: The lumbering juggernaut that is Destryer -666 has finally recorded another bombardment of war metal'. A silly label, you may think, but aside from the fact that black/thrash/death metal hybrid' is a tongue-twister and a half, the pant-shittery induced by listening to Defiance' has got to at least match a 6 year old placed on the frontline against a legion of roid-raging swordsmen. Despite their renown as the old guards of this style, KK Warslut and his band of merry men have left many a mouth free of soot and grit for seven years, and it's about time they got back to, uh, destrying stuff.
The band's impressive combination of thrash precision and the black atmosphere' is as present here as it ever was. On tracks like Blood For Blood', the lead guitar work even creates a mood similar in many ways to a lot of the more melancholy folk metal bands, but the pulse of the music never strays from the path it set out to follow from the beginning: forwards and forwards some more. Fiddling around with different combinations of drum beats and guitar styles more or less balance out the definite lack of dynamic variation, with none of the songs really letting up once their introductions are well and truly out of the way.
Destryer haven't really changed that much in the many years since Phoenix Rising' and Cold Steel...' musically, but a 2009 extreme metal production has done wonders for them. The sound is still dirty and bestial, but now the low frequencies of semi-new bassist Matt' are perfectly audible and very hard-hitting. There are much tighter performances all around, actually, with spot-on blasting from Mersus whose semiquavers are matched meticulously by tremolo picking aplenty, without venturing into the over-rehearsed, glossy territory which plagues the sound of many bands. // 8
Lyrics: I think most extreme metal fans either submerge themselves in the pool of anti-Christian, pro-Satan preaching or, more commonly, learn to block it out. War themes prevail above all, and Destryer are hardly the most overtly goat-maiming band out there anyway but the force behind the music and vocals demand at least a little bit of your attention no matter what the lyrics are about. Keith (the somewhat less threatening real name of KK Warslut) provides vocals that, unlike the rest of the band, more or less dwell on the black metal side of the fence. Still, there's a tiny flavour of a thrashy roar which gives the man infinitely more power and conviction than your garden variety black metal vocalist,
Maybe the lyrics aren't quite convincing enough to truly make the average apathetic listener decide to grab an AK and make a stand defiant against whatever's threatening them; that's probably for the better, but my point is that for all the great delivery they get the lyrics on Defiance' don't really leave the a bit of fun' category. Then again, it's debatable whether they are meant to be anything more, and it's only metal anyway. // 8
Overall Impression: Even though their sound is a big black melting pot of metal styles and there is a sense of grandeur throughout, this album turns out to be pretty simple; it's an unadulterated slab of premium Oz-metal from start to finish. Destryer 666 were never known to be a band to disappoint, but being seven years in the making it was critical that Defiance didn't let fans down and retained that D666 seal of pure evil. Whilst a couple of tracks do begin to wear after a while (I Am Not Deceived', A Stand Defiant'), the last three especially are among some of the best songs this band have ever made.
Now, comrades, it is time to conclude this review of exactly six-hundred-and-sixty-six words and head into battle once again. Let us strap on our bullet belts, throw on Weapons Of Conquest and decimate all that dares to get in our way! Alternatively, we could sit at home and enjoy some good fakkin' metal. It's up to you. // 8
- Duncan Geddes (c) 2009