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Music Review: Deströyer 666 – Defiance

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Deströyer 666. Its name invoking Satan-powered violence, this band's sole purpose is to drive forward — like a blackened war machine, if you will. Formed in 1994, the band has apparently had a mission to deliver pure musical brutality. I say apparently because this is the first I have ever heard them, much less heard of them. Deströyer 666 originates from Australia but have since migrated to a land more befitting of their sound: The Netherlands. Then, the band went eerily silent, evidenced by a large gap in in their discography. Defiance is the band's first release since 2003's EP, Terror Abraxas.

The band has a sound that crosses a few boundaries, existing at the union junction of a number metal sub-genres. With this being the case, many fans have dubbed them "war metal" and the moniker fits like glove. The name, their crossover style, the lyrical content, and the straightforward manner in which it is delivered falls nicely under that banner.

If you wish to expand on them a little bit, you'll find a large dose of thrash metal blended with generous amount of black metal along with a sprinkling of power metal for good measure. Despite the presence of a variety of styles, Deströyer 666 never sound like they are trying to forge ahead and create a new genre nor do they feel like they are trying to do anything too hard (besides blasting a hole through your face, that is). There is a timeless quality to the music. It has high production values crossed with a certain live-grit factor, a combination that works beautifully for this blackened thrash. It may not quite be a classic release, but it is one I can find myself returning to over the years.

I do not believe I have come across a band quite like Deströyer 666 before. The music sounds surprisingly simple, although I know that is not the case. They make the combination sound easy. They set their eyes on their target, release the moorings and charge through the night until they reach their destination. The thrash is plainly evident as the riffs rip off fast and furious and the drums, with speedy double bass, keep everything surging forward. However, that thrash is tempered by a vocal style that is more in line with black metal, along with a blackened spit and polish on the sound of the instruments. The music is peppered with a keen sense of melody that only adds to the black metal portion of the crossover.

The album starts off roaring with "Weapons of Conquest" and it is within this first song that the tone is set for the rest of the album. It is driving, heavy, and melodic, falling right in line with its "war metal" branding.

I also knew right from the start that this was going to be a solid album. Other standouts include: "A Stand Defiant," "A Thousand Plagues," and "A Sermon to the Dead."

The more I listen to it, the more infectious it gets and the more layers are revealed. It may initially sound pretty straightforward upon the first pass, but as you begin to dig below the surface, the black and thrash layers separate and you'll find the brutal thrash element, the melodic black element, the integration of the guitar riffs, lead breaks, drums, and vocals. It is fine song craft that any fan of metal will be able to see and recognize.


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