By Jared Hynes
For those not in the know about 80’s thrash, or more specifically, 80’s Bay Area thrash scene, Defiance were part of the 3rd wave of said scene. At that time, thrash was becoming oversaturated and major labels were sticking their greedy noses in, sniffing around for the next Metallica. By the time of Defiance’s third album, Beyond Recognition, thrash was dying quick and death metal was the next extreme on the block. Not to mention the grunge era starting to dominate the musical landscape. So Defiance never really blew any minds back in the day because they weren’t really bringing anything new to a genre that pretty much exhausted any innovation. Defiance did have their place though because they wrote some semi technical songs, substituting speed and aggression for more intricate song writing to go along with their crunch.
Skip ahead to the mid 2000’s, thrash has seen a resurgence and a lot of 80’s bands are reforming, Defiance being one of them. Along with many of the new thrash bands that have formed and released albums since the resurrection, Defiance’s new album, The Prophecy, brings nothing new creative-wise to the scene. Not only that, they haven’t brought any change or progression from their back catalog as The Prophecy continues on where Void Terra Firma and Beyond Recognition left off. Mid tempo, crunchy thrash with the odd speed flourish thrown in for good measure to keep things, um… thrashy.
Even the production is similar with a dry, organic sound.
Steve Esquivel’s vocals have more of a “core” bark, more akin to his performance in Skinlab (but not quite as harsh or unbearable), than his Chuck Billy-style delivery of the 80’s/90’s.
The good news if you’re a Defiance fan is The Prophecy is 100% Defiance and there should be no surprises or complaints. If you’re looking for aggression, innovation or even progression from the 80’s Bay Area thrash scene, The Prophecy will just to serve as a nostalgia piece. I’m a fan of the band and like throw to on their albums (well, not Beyond Recognition) when I need a retro thrash fix and have exhausted all the favorites yet need to curb said fix.