21 February 2014

Def Con One - II

Has it really been two years since Warface (cleverly linked here) was released onto the world?  Time flies and things of that nature.  This album has been long hyped by the band but finally we have the release of II from North East groove metal machine Def Con One.  Formed in 1998 it did take this band a long time to get their recording career together with various line-up changes and band members being in other projects.  But they seem to be making up for lost time now and we now have the second album in two years (message to an awful lot of other bands - it does not take a fucking age to do So with that being said, Def Con One are primarily a groove metal band, which was pioneered by Pantera, Pissing Razors and bands of that ilk.  You sort of know what you are going to get before you ever start, so I am not expecting something like Sheik Yerbouti or Blue Valentine.  What I am expecting is massive riffs, a lot of high pitch noise and harmonics that could slay the weaker willed in a single note.

Starting with "8h Ball" and this is text book Pantera worship, I would like to stated that I don't view this as a bad thing but in this one song I heard moments of "Cowboys From Hell", "Hellbound" and "5 Minutes Alone".  It has been levelled at Def Con One that they do stray too close to tribute and with a track like this it could be argued that this is the case in point; but in groove metal it is very enclosing genre, but I could not give a shit about that as it is still a decent song.  "Broke" is a more trash affair and is like a sledge hammer to the head.  It is a much better track and could have easily opened the album to be honest.  It packs a punch that is much more subtle and the break down section towards the end is brilliant.  Next is "Soul Possessed" which has an acoustic beginning that gives way to a full on fight mode number.  It is non-stop from beginning to end and mixing old and new school trash and groove to its best effect. "Scarred For Life" is another juggernaut that takes no prisoner but it is based on a very simple riff pattern that has been used to great effect by lots of band; again not saying it is a bad thing, to be honest Jerm (one of our other bloggers has been running around very excitedly about this song), just this is new and very familiar at the same time.

"Debt To Society" is a strange song, going on about forgings one's own path in the world the riff is decent but I just cannot get into the track.  I have a feeling that being played live this song will taken on a whole new meaning but on this record it does not do that much to me.  "Skinhead Shaped Dent" however is much better; starting off with a fire storm of twisted harmonics and blast beats, it works on so many levels and picks this album up at the right time.  Next up it is "Need A Reason" which has a haunting opening and much more drama than I was expecting.  It shows a growth in the band's writing style and is hands down the best song on the album.

"Die Again" is another slow number, building slowly upwards and onwards towards that inevitable breakdown and crushing finale.  It is perfectly executed in deliver and again shows that not all of their tracks are groove orientated.  After this though comes "Damned Disgrace" which brings back the groove and it is for the best at this point as sometimes you need to just bang your head like a madman and make devil horns to the world in general.  It is a good to hear this and it goes onto the end of the track "Drag Me To Hell" which only just misses out of being the best track of the album up against "Need A Reason", the whole combination of riffs, thumping bass lines and delivery ends the album on a positive and powerful moment.

Overall this album is an album that is decent at what it does in places, in a few places it is a little average and in others is can be quite stunning.  The second half of the album is really good and shows that Def Con One are becoming a really good band and have ideas that are outside what they normally are associated with and this is really good for the future. I have a feeling if Jerm was reviewing this instead of me it would be more of a love letter to the band, for me it does exactly what it says on the tin and that is not a bad thing.  Every now and then you want some that hits the nail on the head and it is another improvement on 'Warface' which is what each album should be - a step in the right direction. The band has been making waves around the UK and will no doubt be playing far and wide as soon as possible.  As I have said before and I will say again, it is a good time to be into music in Newcastle as there is a lot of really good bands around at the moment, Def Con One are another band to add to that list of interesting band that you should check out.

7.5 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

Top Track - "Need A Reason"

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Def Con One website here (which also has a link to their webstore)

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Alternatively you can listen to it on Deezer if that is you deal

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