DEFIANCE – Beyond Recognition [Reissue]

DEFIANCE - Beyond Recognition [Reissue]
  • 9/10
    DEFIANCE - Beyond Recognition [Reissue] - 9/10


Metal Mind Records
Release date: November 10, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Here is another Metal Mind Records reworked and reissued classic album. The Polish label has released, not long ago, the last official work, to date, of the American Thrash Metal act, Defiance.

Originating in 1985, in Oakland USA, Defiance presented some heavy, dense Thrash Metal music in the vein of early Testament and Metallica’s era of And Justice for All. After a demo in 1988, the band went big time and signed with Roadrunner Records and under then released three great albums: Product Of Society (1989), Void Terra Firma (1990) and on the 27th of March 1992, they released their final album, 2 years before their split up, Beyond Recognition. In 2005, the band reunited and is already working on a new album. Without further ado, here is the review of the re-released classic, Beyond Recognition.

Produced by Rob Beaton in Bay View Studios and Renown Sound, the band was able to successfully record a very strong and pounding production with high quality that didn’t fall far from the big boys back then like Metallica and Testament. The band’s sound is very much like Metallica’s during that time, Heathen, Testament and even Reverend. All around you can just hear the Marshall amps screaming with the sharpness and accuracy of the low gained guitars. The bass line plays a huge role on supporting the guitars with a massive halo. And, of course, like many bands in the 80s and early 90s, not just Thrash Metal bands, the reverbed vocals. Overall, Defiance has reached its peak with this album’s production.

Defiance, since their formation, went political and social. Both themes, as you probably know and may have read earlier, were everlasting in Thrash Metal as a means of protest and a huge array of songs written about it. Like many bands Defiance are preaching against war with the opening track , “The Killing Floor”. With “Perfect Nothing”, the issue that is discussed is split personality but not in the disorder vernacular. It is more than a fight between black and white, good and evil, darkness and light inside of a person. “Step Back” and “Inside Looking Out” has strong emotions against society and its lies to its citizens. “Power Trip” is where trouble starts, when society crumbles under its inability to deal with its failures like crime. These are just some examples of Defiance’s lyrical themes. In addition, you can notice that the band’s name fits very well with this category.

Musically speaking, Defiance made a colossal effort in making an album that will be as strong as it can be while referring to its sound and production. However, they perfected more than their sound in this album. Like various bands that worked to make their Thrash Metal more powerful to their liking, the technical issue raises its head. For example, bands like Sadus, Artillery, in some way Heathen are making Thrash Metal technical. Especially in times when Technical Death Metal also was on the rise, made Defiance’s music more diverse and interesting. Although there were times, where bands were consumed by all the technical stuff, has stopped delivering good and solid material. Beyond Recognition did not make it to that point.

The album’s music, on most tracks, is flowing and breaks some skulls with its upright heaviness. “The Chosen” and “The Killing Floor” are great examples of a crack head heavy tune. “The Chosen is a slow tempo heavy tanker. Along with heavy riffs come the astounding solo breaks. Great solos are, again, in… “The Killing Floor” , “Perfect Nothing” and “Inside Looking Out”.

Finally, there is the technicality issue, which was mentioned earlier, can be found in tracks like “Power Trip”, “Dead Silence” and “Step Back”. While listening to the bass line, it has a certain large role, but its mainly keeping the guitars heavy and breaking. Unlike other Technical acts, here the bass is not contributing as much, except from its halo. The drums are equal to the guitars while giving it all with great tempo changes.

Largely, the entire band is performing with harmony and with great ability in their roles. However, only one of these dudes caught the ear of the reviewer and that is Steev Esquivel, the front man.  Steev came to Defiance after their debut release of 1989, Product Of Society, replacing Mitch Elkington. The guy’s voice is very good and has the closest similarity to Testament’s Chuck Billy in his golden years of the 80s and early 90s. In addition, there is a similarity to Cyclone Temple’s Brian Troch. Although, the man’s voice line and singing style is not that original, he still provides and delivers.

Metal Mind gives you the listener more treats of Defiance’s early works with some bonus tracks. The first one is a very short acoustic break that was based on the album’s title. Maybe the band should have included it as a closer or an opener for this one. The next tracks: “Born To Kill” , “MIA” and “Hypothermia” are all included in the band’s demo release in 1988, Hypothermia, the quality of this one is decent. The last three tracks are three live songs from an unknown date. The tracks are “Inside Looking Out”, “Void” and “Tribulation”. “Void” is a great heavy tune from their first album.

Beyond Recognition provides some good tracks but not all of them made the cut to being more than great tracks. There are some songs which possess good tunes but they do not generate a lot of interest. But this phenomenon is not stereotypical of this release. The album opens with a cracker like, “The Killing Floor” which is another protest song with a fine melodic intro and ramming speed that preaches violence. The personality issued, “Perfect Nothing” is another unique classic with many breaks of acoustic melodies. “Dead Silence” is an old school Thrasher with heavy riffs along with the brotherly tune, “Power Trip”, which has some good kick downs in it. The best track in this release is “Inside Looking Out” with great riffs and speed and an amazing chorus that was made with the help of Melodic Thrash singer, Doug White of Heathen.

Currently, Defiance is working on a new album after their comeback, almost 3.5 years ago. In their golden years of late 80s and early 90s, these people were able to impress many folks back home and all around the world. Hopefully their new release , under the label Candlelight, will be good , and may be more, than Beyond Recognition. Cheers Thrashers!!


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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