Insurrection Icon

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Art Gates Records, 2018)

Karakter: 4.5/6

DEFIANT Insurrection Icon cover.jpgThe four wicked Croatians collectively known as Defiant offer a highly solid and entertaining mix of black and death metal with a lot of infectious melodies and skull-shattering riffs to it. The dark and punchy sound of this 40-minute long record adds an organic flow to the proceedings and you can tell that these dudes poured a lot of heart and soul into the eleven oppressive hymns that constitute "Insurrection Icon". In many ways, Defiant bring to mind mid-90s Behemoth and Belphegor, but with far less symphonic elements than the former and a way less chaotic and insane approach to things than the latter. The Norwegian death metallers Deathcon (for those of you who remember that one) and even Zyklon also come to mind from time to time, but that is hardly a bad thing, is it? There is just something undefinably cool about the way in which those raw and sinister riffs by Defiant evoke such a claustrophobic and unpleasant not to mention intense atmosphere. There is nothing polished or rigid about this one but neither does it ever descend into anything that even remotely resembles sloppy or unfocused. There is a red thread running through the entire album and it all sounds cohesive, but more or less each song possesses an identity of its own, or at least one or more traits that separate it from the others in a sense, which is a treat to experience from the listener's point of view. Not that Defiant's song material is deliberately convoluted or complex by any stretch of the imagination, but there are more than enough to sink your teeth into here to warrant repeated listens. Simply put, "Insurrection Icon" is one of those discs that require a bit of time and patience in order to fully reveal its many qualities and subtle nuances. The rumbling and powerful bass coupled with hard-hitting drums and those gritty guitars on top of it all work like a charm and the balance between the various instruments is close to perfect.

"Insurrection Icon" covers a lot of ground in that it is at times morose and pitch black only to shift gear and turn into a raging and violent storm of furious metal that has more in common with early Morbid Angel and Angelcorpse than any black metal outfit that I can think of as I am writing this, but that only goes to show that there is more to Defiant than meets the eye. They could have taken things a bit further and written even more dynamic and diverse material than what constitutes this album of theirs, because the potential to do just that is certainly present on "Insurrection Icon", but one simply cannot deny the awesome songwriting skills of this Croatian horde. On a final note, the artwork that accompanies the album looks great too, so if you consider yourself a fan of black/death metal there is simply no way around this disc. It turns out that there is something nasty and unpleasant brewing in the Croatian underground...and the vile and violent beast that is Defiant is it.

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