Band – Critical Defiance
Album – Misconception
Country of Origin – Chile
Genre – Tech Thrash
Release Date – August 25, 2023 (Vinyl – originally 2019)
Label – Dying Victims Productions
Author – Benjamin Boggs
Originally released in 2019, this album has been released on vinyl for the first time via Dying Victims Records. What an impressive debut from Chile’s very own Critical Defiance! This is speedy thrash done right. It’s melodic, ferocious, and reminiscent of a time in metal when speed ruled all. The most surprising thing to the listener is how immediately catchy this album sounds. It’s fresh, not just a throwback rehash to the legends of yore.
Guitarist Felipe Espinoza rips on this album with dizzying leads and lighting fast riffs. The rhythm section in Ignacio Arévalo on bass and Rodrigo Poblete on drums lock down the groove and push the songs. Felipe Alvarado on guitars and vocals is the standout performer for me on this venture.
The song Spiral of Hatred offers a break with a killer build before stomping back up to speed. Guitar solos soar over the plodding groove just before we kick into a drum driven destroyer in the next song. The dynamics on this album heavily relies on tempo changes and this group does it flawlessly. Instrumental track 507 showcases the musicianship of the band and creates a moody, beautiful piece reminiscent of thrash’s more progressive songs. There are hardcore style gang vocals, there’s riffs for days, there are soaring metalcore-style leads and the drums are just non-stop. Simply calling this thrash would be a disservice.
I have seen Critical Defiance called “modern vintage thrash” which can look like a contradiction, but wholly appropriate in this case. They are not a copycat or a tribute, but a new structure on a foundation of old. That is not to say that this is by the book and uninspired. Quite the contrary, in fact! I hear a resurgence of the past with a spiked fist clenched on the future.
This album is not a throwback to a different time; this is bringing the shadow of an extinct beast back to life with electricity and vigor. These songs stomp way harder than expected and progress in a way that is both exciting and organic. There’s a TON of riffs on this album, each one like a lighting bolt sent to earth. While there is a unified sound, this is a varied and exciting album from start to finish. Highly recommended for fans of all metal genres!