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Defeater Travels

Defeater - Travels
01. Blessed Burden
02. Everything Went Quiet
03. Nameless Streets
04. Forgiver Forgetter
05. The City by Dawn
06. Prophet in Plain Clothes
07. Carrying Weight
08. Moon Shine
09. The Blues
10. Debts
11. Cowardice
2009 Bridge Nine Records

Reviewed by: Nick   //   Published: 3/12/2009

At first glance, Defeater appears to have materialized out of thin air. Travels is an easy choice for a spot in the upper echelon of modern hardcore releases, and it's even more impressive when considering its status as a debut release. But dig a little deeper and you'll find that the band's success isn't entirely unexpected; Defeater is the result of the reorganization and reinvention of Massachusetts' Sluts, a group which displayed some pretty promising songwriting ideas on their self-titled release a couple years back. Now add in a stronger vocalist in newcomer Derek Archambault and some further fine-tuning of primary songwriter Jay Maas' musical goals, and Defeater truly becomes a band with no visible weak link. Anyone into modern, intelligent hardcore will love this.

It's pretty clear that Defeater shares many traits with hardcore standouts Verse and Modern Life Is War. Sharp, engaging vocal lines, creative song structures, and an unmistakable talent for manufacturing emotional, epic tracks are all integral ingredients of Defeater's musical foundation. But it's a consistent string of little songwriting tricks that stamp Travels with its own standout label, such as when the intense intro of "The City by Dawn" drops out to a brief, rumbling bass line and poignant screams before re-injecting drums and melodic guitar lines. Or when the band uses memorable repetition of lyrics like "She gets a stiff hand from the old man like the bourbon he's been drinking / black out," in "Nameless Streets." Or when they unleash the instrumentally-focused, dynamic swells (reminiscent of the exceptional Sluts track, "Inside Jokes and Party Favors") in the album's closer, "Cowardice." With the exception of the competent, but entirely out of place acoustic number in the latter half of "Prophet in Plain Clothes" -- "What is this, Conor Oberst" quizzed my girlfriend at first contact -- Travels is a consistently exceptional display of noteworthy songwriting with passionate delivery that deserves a hell of a lot of praise.

With both Verse and Modern Life Is War having left us in the hardcore world, Defeater is the first band to step up and legitimately fill part of that void. Taking Travels as a definite indicator of their capabilities, I'm expecting very big things from these guys from here on out. This is top notch stuff from any and every angle.

Bottom Line: Defeater is the perfect definition of modern hardcore. The band's older work under the Sluts moniker was enjoyable, but Travels has upped the ante on all fronts. This is essential listening material for fans of Modern Life Is War, Verse, and Bridge Nine's current catalog.

Grey_   posted 3/27/2009 3:07:53 PM
Good album
JMAN_   posted 3/26/2009 7:07:29 PM
Christianity has no place in hardcore.
canttakethedick_   posted 3/18/2009 7:37:49 PM
kid should have stayed in transistor transistor and i dont even like that horse shit either. ha!
anonymous   posted 3/13/2009 3:36:54 PM
/\ complete pssy above
johnny drama_   posted 3/13/2009 1:24:18 PM
two worthwhile reviews in a row?! lambgoat, you're on to something here... amazing cd, amazing band, finally a hardcore band worth being stoked about.

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