Guitars GUITARS GUITARRRRRRS! I’ve never heard an album so drenched in axe work since The Power Of Rock And Roll by Frank Marino way back in 1981 as British heavy metallers Absolva launch a 180gm vinyl format of Defiance that is packaged in a gatefold cover and printed inner sleeves.
Fronted by brothers in arms (and guitars) Chris and Luke Appleton, twelve tracks race by as album opener ‘Life On The Edge’ sets the pace through my headphones clearing any earwax with blazing riffs, skull smashing drums and thundering bass guitar lines as Chris’ vocals bounced around off the backs of my retinas. It’s an explosive opener followed by the mid paced chug and heavy dynamics of the title track that add backing to Chris’ melodic vocals as tasty twin leads lead into an over the top solo.
The jabbing riffs and crushing chords of ‘Rise Again’ dominate as a photo finish sees them a nose ahead of hard rocking verses and band backing choruses. Luke’s bass guitar raises its head above the marching guitar riffs and a brief warp speed solo. ‘Never Be The Same’ keeps up the pace as it hurtles straight of the starting blocks and smashes through the finishing line tape with a bluster of fist clenching metal. ‘Alarms’ is a stadium rock filling number that has rock radio airplay written all over it. ‘Connections’ is a brief pause to get your breath back with some wistful balladry containing an almost whispered soul searching vocal.
The galloping drum patterns of Martin McNee during ‘Midnight Screams’ propel this rager along making it more of a dream than a nightmare. A term I often use is ‘melody with muscle’ that describes ‘Life And Death’ perfectly. The earworm main riff in ‘Eclipse’ kept my attention throughout its duration as did the short, sharp heads down foot to the floor rhythms of ‘Who Dares Wins’ that went into overdrive during the face melting solo and drum heavy outro but my personal highlight is album closer ‘Reflection’, an intense power ballad that ticks every box and must surely be a crowd pleaser during their ongoing thirty four date European tour to promote the vinyl release that includes seven with Michael Schenker. It snakes along on majestic riffing, Chris’ most powerful vocal and when the solos kicked in it made for a perfect five out of five review!
Defiance album track listing :-
Life On The Edge.
Fistful Of Hate.
Never Be The Same.
Life And Death.
Who Dares Wins.
Absolva band line up :-
Chris Appleton – Lead vocals/guitar.
Luke Appleton – Backing vocal/guitar.
Martin McNee – Drums.
Karl Schramm – Bass guitar/backing vocals.