Written by Alex Stojanovic
Lullaby Of Vengeance
Circle Of Ashes
Conspiracy Of The Gods
Another Killing Spree
Rise Of Rebellion
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Label: Metal Blade Records
Henry Derek Bonner - Vocals Chris Broderick - Guitars & vocals Matt Bachand - Bass & vocals Shawn Drover - Drums
Diving headfirst into the album, nothing is held back as "M.I.A." starts off this metal assault with adrenalizing riffs and lyrics criticizing the issue of fake news. A huge issue today. Instead of slowing down, things ramp up in speed as we arrive at "Molten Core" with a very Slayer-esque thrash assault. This one will be perfect for pits at shows. Sweet acoustic passages start off and finish off "The Talisman" but in between, we're treated to some stomping riffs and grooves. It kind of reminds me of "Refrain & Re-Fracture" to a degree. Henry Derek Bonner glides over the verses with some dark vocals. I dare you to try and keep your head still when you listen to this track. You will fail. Broderick shines throughout the record unleashing monstrous riffs accompanied by a rich, crispy and crushing tone and some searing solos. On top of that, as if Broderick's tone wasn't heavy enough, the thunder provided by Drover and Matt Bachand make the riffs that much heavier.
Bonner's vocals have always gotten a mixed reception, but as I've mentioned before, I think they're well executed. The raspy undertones are a great addition to his cleans, and he does a splendid job combining cleans and growls. The chorus in "Overexposure" is one of his standout moments as far as his cleans go. It's catchy and instantly memorable. Drover gets to let loose on the double-bass in "Conspiracy Of The Gods", creating a triplet-based chugging pattern throughout a majority of the song. A standout moment for me is "Lullaby Of Vengeance", which heads into more progressive territory with the different time signatures. There's a transition from 4/4 into 3/4 starting at the 1:49 mark. This is also one of the heaviest sections on the record. Monstrous grooves dominate the album, with "Another Killing Spree" being one of the record's high points when it comes to groove, and I like how there's a melodic black metal tremolo picking section right after the solo.
What Act Of Defiance like to do is encompass a number of different styles into one package instead of pigeonholing themselves as a single metal style, and that's always a really wise choice for a metal band and interesting for the listener. Much like Birth & The Burial, you have thrash, traditional, progressive, modern and a few others on Old Scars, New Wounds, which makes for a diverse and heavy thrill ride. There's a lot going on here. The band have made it clear since day 1 that they're not out to reinvent the wheel and create something new, so if you're expecting something groundbreaking, you're not going to find it. If you enjoyed Birth & The Burial, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't enjoy Old Scars, New Wounds. Pick it up when it's released.
Highs: "Molten Core", "Overexposure", "The Talisman", "Lullaby Of Vengeance" and "Another Killing Spree".
Lows: Nothing ground-breaking.
Final Rating: 9/10
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