DEFEATER - Travels

Defeater - Travels

11 songs
32:14 minutes
***** ****
Bridge Nine


Massachusetts hardcore newcomer Defeater published their debut Travels already last year on the small independent label Topshelf, owned by an employee of the bigger Bridge Nine Records who were so overwhelmed by the quality of this young quintet that they decided to re-release it to make it accessible to a bigger audience. What sounds like a hype at first starts already to make sense once you have a look at the gorgeous digipak manufactured only from 100% recyclable material and containing some of the best photographs I have ever seen on a cover artwork.

Travels is a concept album following the life of an unwanted child born in the middle of the twentieth century up to the protagonist’s death. Don’t be deterred by the anticipation of some kind of hardcore opera, because Defeater are firmly rooted in state-of-the-art hardcore devoid of any contemporary concessions, having thereby created a concise and furious record that can just as well be savoured without any background of thy lyrics.

With songs hardly ever longer than three minutes, the band unleashes angry, timeless songs that may be influenced by Minor Threat and Modern Life Is War, but which eventually stand out as something entirely original, due to their uncompromising approach. The different songs are mostly kept at a very fast pace, with occasional sludgier moments allowing the guitarist to generate densely layered carpets that provide an incredibly dark atmosphere. All of this is topped by a vocalist whose vicious vocal attacks remind of a young Henry Rollins. Only Prophet In Plain Clothes allows for some breathing space with acoustic guitars and melodic vocals. To prove that they don’t have to stick to short compositions all the time, the record ends with Cowardice, an epic rocker more than six minutes long.

Defeater use each and every of their thirty-two minutes running time to weave one of the meanest and most sincere hardcore albums of the year. Unimpressed by the trendier outgrowths of the genre, this young band proves that it is still possible and desirable to play pure, unadulterated hardcore. Not only hardcore fans will succumb to the undeniable charm of this fantastic and incredibly mature debut album.

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