at The Glass House, Pomona, CA, USA, December 5, 2015

ACT OF DEFIANCE (Live at The Glass House, Pomona, CA, USA, December 5, 2015)
Photo: Stephanie Cabral
ACT OF DEFIANCE (Live at The Glass House, Pomona, CA, USA, December 5, 2015)
Photo: Stephanie Cabral

Following the unexpected departure of Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover from Megadeth in November of 2014, the metal world eagerly awaited the news of what project two of Thrash Metal’s elite would set their sights on next. The calendar was barely into 2015 when they announced the formation a brand new band, Act of Defiance. Rounded out by Scar The Martyr vocalist Henry Derek and Shadows Fall guitarist (now playing bass) Matt Bachand, within a few months the band had solidified their sound and released a single, “Throwback”.

Along with co-headliners Allegaeon, Act of Defiance had been thundering their way across the US and chose to make their final stop of the tour at The Glass House in Pomona, California. The Glass House is perfect for Metal shows. No seats, no bullshit. Just plenty of room for headbanging and the pit. With no local opening bands, the show was as cut and dried as you can get.

ALLEGAEON (Live at The Glass House, Pomona, CA, USA, December 5, 2015)
Photo: Stephanie Cabral

Allegaeon was up first and they wasted little time getting deep into their catalog of “Science Metal” tracks. Many of their songs are 6, 7 or 8 minutes long, winding their way through a smorgasbord of progressive tech metal riffs, time changes and face numbing guitar solos. The guitars were worn high, the hair was kept short and the t-shirts were plain black, but this was clearly a band that was having fun and comfortable with themselves and their audience. Props go to drummer Brandon Park who maintained a smooth performance despite his double-kick pedal constantly disassembling itself throughout the show. Had I not been watching it happen from the front row, I would have never known. I had some initial concerns upon seeing vocalist Riley McShane’s hipster-esque beard, but as soon as he incinerated the mic with his first note, I was put at ease. The band played a tight set with very few breaks and although there were many more old-school metal heads in attendance, the audience erupted with cheers and raised metal horns after every song.

ACT OF DEFIANCE (Live at The Glass House, Pomona, CA, USA, December 5, 2015)
Photo: Stephanie Cabral

After an impressively quick stage changeover, Act of Defiance came storming out with a decidedly different yet even more metal vibe than their co-headliners. If Allegaeon was Science Party Metal, then Act of Defiance would be New Wave of Smash Your Neighbor’s Car With A Crow-Bar Metal. Needless to say, their set contained no ballads. There were times when I was concerned that vocalist Henry Derek would bite, chew, spit out and then pee on, his microphone. His performance was that intense. Shawn Drover spent the set performing the sonic equivalent of unloading several boxes of shotgun shells into the kick drum mic, but with a tasty groove. Derek’s performance was flanked on either side by Chris Broderick and Matt Bachand who traded sides of the stage at every opportunity and seemed to never run out of riffs or energy. Broderick wins the award for the most often smiling member of the band, but don’t worry, this is a metal show so it’s a just-bought-a-new-Camaro sort of smile. To say that Broderick belongs in the upper echelon of the guitar hero ranks would be a massive understatement.

Executing mind-bending 8 finger tapping runs is just another day at the office. Few players reach the level of technical ability where they have to invent a device that attaches a guitar pick to their thumb, so they can have more finger tips at their disposal. As Act of Defiance tore through their set, Broderick was clearly enjoy himself and the new artistic space that the band provided him. His enthusiastic performance made the show even more enjoyable.

As the show came to a close, both bands hung around and were happy to take photos and sign autographs. The entire event was a shining example of the positive side of the metal community. The crowd was a melting pot of ages, races, genders and metal subgenres, yet everyone had a good time and was clearly happy to be there. It’s worth noting that Act of Defiance did not play any Megadeth tunes. By the end of the show it was clear that they simply didn’t need to and they had proven that they could stand strong on their own material. Both Act of Defiance and Allegaeon are clearly here to stay and will no doubt command larger tours and crowds as time goes on.


  • Maxxxwell Carlisle

    Maxxxwell was a reviewer and the host of The Maxed Out Metal Hour here on Metal Express Radio. He is the current lead guitarist for LA based metal veterans Hellion. In addition to his ongoing role in Hellion, he has also released 5 albums as a solo artist and appeared as a guest writer and soloist on Michael Angelo Batio's Intermezzo album, named one of the Top 5 shred albums of 2014 by Guitar World Magazine. He continues to collaborate with various Metal musicians and teaches guitar technique and Metal composition via Skype. Additionally, he is a former competitive bodybuilder and enjoys a lifestyle based around health, fitness and Metal.

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