Act of Defiance is the new group from Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover, formerly of Megadeth. For several months now, rumors have persisted regarding a new band featuring the twosome following their departure from Megadeth; at last the band has arrived on the scene! The group teams the two Megadeth expatriates with vocalist Henry Derek and guitarist Matt Bachand, the latter formerly of Shadows Fall.
These supergroups are always a risky proposition; it seems like we have come to a day and age in which the world is bogged down and oversaturated with supergroups. Many of them are gone as quickly as they arrived on the scene, often due to creative differences and the egos at hand. That said, when one of them contains musicians from my favorite bands, I am always open minded. Upon hearing that two former Megadeth guys had teamed up with a Shadows Fall guitarist, you better believe that this heavy metal maniac was quick to jump on the bandwagon!
After all of the rumors, the band is finally together, and their album has been streaming online prior to the official CD release on August 21. Upon giving it a listen, how does it measure up? Is this supergroup one to keep your eye on, or should you steer clear?
To put it simply, my feelings on the album are mixed. Where this album succeeds, it is one of the best albums of the year. And where it falters, it is one of the worst. The instrumentation on this album is phenomenal; it is one of the hardest and heaviest albums I have ever heard, rocking eardrums from start to finish. Even the slower, more melodic material (if you can even call it that) rocks just as relentlessly. The guitar work is furious, with intricate solos throughout from some of the world’s best heavy metal guitarists. The drums pound away throughout with equal, unrivaled ferocity. It gives the listener a nice mixture of modern rock and classic thrash sounds alike. As far as the ability of these players goes, this is a supergroup that actually is super…
…and I wish I could say the same for the other key part – the VOCALS. The instrumentation is unrivaled and relentless, but the vocals on this album are atrocious. This is mindless, raspy screaming that undermines the quality of the rest of the material. Seriously, the guy tries too hard, and ends up sounding like he is dying on every single track. The real tragedy is that the backing vocals throughout the album sound far superior to the lead vocals; had one of the other musicians stepped up to sing lead, we would not be dealing with the horrid singing that detracts from the otherwise excellent music on every song this album has to offer.
It is hard to render a final verdict on this one. On one hand, you are going to hear loud, aggressive heavy metal that never lets up. But on the other, the terrible vocals render much of it less appealing that it could have been with a more capable singer behind the microphone, or one of the other members of the band stepping up to handle the vocal duties. If the members of the band are reading this, fire the singer and try again. With a more capable frontman, their next album could be a metal masterpiece. Moderately recommended.