In Flames – Norma Jean – Light the Torch: Live at O2 Ritz Manchester (UK)

For the past decade or so, melodeath heavyweights In Flames have divided the worldwide metal community. After beginning humbly as a melodic side-project to Jesper Strömblad’s traditional death metal band Ceremonial Oath, the Gothenburg group went on to release a string of innovative albums throughout the mid to late 90s that earned them unanimous acclaim for pioneering a much cleaner, more NWOBHM inspired style of death metal. Alongside the likes of bands such as Dark Tranquility and At the Gates, this fresh approach took the metal world by absolute storm. However, the turn of the decade has seen the Swedes popularity tower to heights not often reached without musical compromise, a notion that most bands of their genre would never dare to entertain. In the case of Anders Fridén and co, they boldly made the decision to incorporate friendly grooves and alternative metal riffs into a core sound that was always considered to be its best when abrasive, off-putting and relentless.

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Act of Defiance Drops Off of Death Angel Tour

With the news that Chris Broderick will continue to fill in for In Flames guitarist Niclas Engelin, Act of Defiance has dropped off their upcoming tour with Death Angel. Conscious of the disappointing news, Broderick posted to the Act of Defiance Facebook with a message to fans. AOD continues to tour in support of 2017’s Old Scars, New Wounds album, and are working on a follow-up, due from their label Metal Blade in 2020. Continue reading

Act of Defiance Kicks Off Their Summer Tour, Dates With Armored Saint Start Next Week

Act of Defiance kicks off their new North American summer tour tonight. Starting in Denver, CO where the band will play the first of four headlining shows before joining Armored Saint on their previously announced Symbol Of Salvation tour beginning July 10th in Poughkeepsie, NY. Act of Defiance includes in its ranks Chris Broderick (ex-Megadeth), Shawn Drover (ex-Megadeth), Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall, Times Of Grace), and Henry Derek (Scar The Martyr). The band is still touring behind their latest studio album, Old Scars, New Wounds, via Metal Blade Records from 2017. Continue reading

Act Of Defiance – Old Scars, New Wounds

Featuring former Scar The Martyr frontman Henry Derek Bonner on vocals, Shadows Fall guitarist Matt Bachand on bass, plus former Megadeth members Shawn Drover (drums) and Chris Broderick (guitar), Los Angeles based super-group Act of Defiance return with the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Birth and the Burial (Metal Blade). Continue reading

Act Of Defiance Premiere “M.I.A.” Video

Act Of Defiance, the band featuring Chris Broderick, Henry Derek, Shawn Drover and Matt Bachand, have announced that their highly anticipated sophomore album, Old Scars, New Wounds, will finally be hitting stores on September 29th via Metal Blade Records. Continue reading

Redemption- The Art Of Loss

Redemption The Art of Loss album cover ghostcultmag

Since their formation in 2001, Redemption have always proved a dependable and solid act, never proving truly world-beating or spectacular, but always proving enjoyable with a strong quality and pedigree. Likewise they have always proved steady in the sound, never being too revolutionary but as a result, pleasing to long-term fans. Following in this trend, latest album The Art Of Loss (Metal Blade) proves much of the same, being strong and certainly fun, but with its flaws.

Sadly The Art Of Loss is without long-term guitarist Bernie Versailles as he recovers from an aneurysm, but does see his void instead filled with a plethora of guest spots including ex- Megadeth axemen Marty Friedman, Chris Broderick and Chris Poland. Otherwise this is much the same as we have come to expect; which is not necessarily a negative. Album opener and the title track set up proceedings with an anthemic, instantly memorable number which showcases both the band’s soaring guitar work and powerful vocals of Ray Adler. What follows is more or less in the same vein of prog-tinged metal, which proves melodic yet muscular and dark and melancholic yet with a streak of motivational energy.

So far so good, but The Art Of Loss does have some drawbacks. With little deviation there is a sense that this is going through more of the same, many songs sounding all too similar to one and another and to previous works to really stand out for long. Combined with a long duration and this actually becomes a fairly taxing album, especially with the plus 20 minute closing track, which does shift throughout, but still doesn’t warrant its time frame.

Redemption have never seemed like the band to try and completely reinvent the wheel or their own formula, and depending on viewpoint, an album of more of the same will either prove tiresome or excellent news. For others, there is plenty of value here with some exemplary guitar work and huge passages throughout, but there is surprisingly little depth for an album this long; and there are plenty of bands who do very similar, but a whole lot better.

5.0/10

CHRIS TIPPELL

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Freedom And The Future – Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover of Act of Defiance

AOD 6 by Stephanie Cabral

Act of Defiance 2015. Photo credit Stephanie Cabral

Late last year, both guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover announced they were parting ways with thrash legends Megadeth. A few months later, the pair announced they had formed a new band, Act of Defiance. This new supergroup, also featuring former Scar the Martyr vocalist Henry Derek and Shadows Fall guitarist Matt Bachland released their debut album Birth and the Burial (Metal Blade) in August of this year. A surprising change of direction, the album is far heavier than many would have expected, especially after the main songwriters’ last record was Megadeth’s AOR-friendly Super Collider (Tradecraft/Universal).

Despite having played in one of the biggest metal bands in the world and probably in the position where they could attract as big a name as they wanted, the former Megadeth men went for a relative unknown with Scar the Martyr’s Henry Derek.  “We put together a list of 30 singers we thought would work well for Act of Defiance and Henry came back as one of 5 we sent out an initial demo to record on”, begins Broderick. “Henry’s demo fit the music so well, so we knew we wanted him as our singer. Talking with him and working on demo material was really easy, and we have a great working relationship.” The addition of Matt Bachland on bass didn’t involve such a wide search, however, as Shawn Drover confirms: “I have known Matt for over 15 years now, and after seeing he was looking for a new gig since the Shads aren’t touring anymore, I hit him up.

Despite the legacy of their previous bands, the duo felt no pressure over fan expectations, Drover calmly explains. “You can’t worry about what people’s perception of a new band will be before they have even heard one note. We just wrote and recorded the exact record we wanted to make, at the end of the day what else can you do?” Broderick is on the same page, equally fearless about people’s reactions.“While we knew we would be compared to our former bands it didn’t concern us, we just wanted to get our own music out there for people to experience, so that attitude allowed us to write freely without chasing any preconceived idea of what people would expect from us.

One of the most surprising things about Birth and the Burial is how heavy is; it’s a record far closer to the likes of Arch Enemy than the melody of Megadeth’s Super Collider. Broderick’s confidence shows: “Both Shawn and I knew we wanted to come out with something heavier not only for ourselves but also for the fans.” Despite what some might see as a new direction, Drover felt there was no compromise: Certain tunes are a bit more progressive and dynamic, but in the end it’s all Heavy Metal. We just created what we truly wanted to write with no regards to chasing trends or wanting to be soft just to try to sell more records. We have no interest in that.

On top of that, Broderick respects the impact of the unknown that Henry brought to the table. “I think the thing that caught people most off guard was Henry’s vocals being so heavy but I think once they hear how melodic he can be at the same time and realize how appropriate and emotionally accurate each style he sings is for the music he is singing over it becomes clear how cool it is.”

While there were a few ideas and riffs that existed previous to the band forming, the majority of material on Birth and the Burial was written specially for the record. Drover: “I have never had much of an issue being inspired to write new music, so there was certainly no shortage of inspiration going into the writing process for this new record. Chris and I were very focused on what we wanted to do on this record, which was to make a Metal record without compromise.

AOD 3 by Stephanie Cabral

Act of Defiance 2015. Photo credit Stephanie Cabral

Obviously AOD’s previous bands were known for their strong leaders; Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine is known for his authoritative streak, while Scar the Martyr’s Joey Jordison was a key member in the nine-man chaos of Slipknot. Who’s the leader now? Broderick: “Right now, Shawn and I are the ones who created Act of Defiance and are taking the initial reigns on its direction, however as Henry and Matt come into the fold and get more involved in the band it will become more equal between all four of us.” There are no dictators though. Drover: “This is a band. We all have a say. When you have people who all have the same goal, which with us is to make the best Heavy Metal we can, it’s not too difficult to agree on matters.”

Was it these strong leaders that led to everyone leaving and eventually forming Act of Defiance? Broderick: “I can only speak to my experiences and it was just a measurement of the positives against the negatives. Performing for such ravenous die-hard fans was awesome, but there came a time where I felt stifled artistically and musically. I liken it to a lawyer leaving a firm to start their own or a chef starting their own restaurant. While neither are giving specifics, it’s clear that a change of direction and freedom is the theme. Drover: “It was simply time for me to move on and make the kind of music I wanted to make. My focus is about music and the new record, period. Anything negative about the past becomes the headline and is a distraction to what I’m here to ultimately promote.

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As well as a new sense of musical freedom, there’s a strong focus on the future, the band say they have no intention of playing old material from their previous bands and this is their sole focus. Broderick: “It started with Shawn and I wanting to get out some of our own music, unaltered or controlled in any form. Act of Defiance is a band with no intention of it just being a project. A lot of people are just doing project after project and giving the fans nothing of substance to connect with.” From the sounds of it, we should be looking forward to plenty more from the supergroup. Drover: “I have never been a huge fan of being in 9 different bands, because most people tend to view those things as just a “project” as opposed to a real band, which is exactly what AOD is.

This is our future, and we are prepared to take Act of Defiance as far as we can for the long haul.”

 

Birth and the Burial is out now via Metal Blade

WORDS BY DAN SWINHOE

Act of Defiance – Birth and the Burial

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Supergroup – so often a term used to describe lame side projects by members of well-known bands; so often a tired marketing ploy to generate hype for someone’s new band when they’ve left their old band after one too many “creative differences”. Fortunately, metal produces some excellent supergroups, a by-product of being a genre where – even now – actual musical talent is required of performers.

With Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover (of Megadeth fame) on guitar and drums, Matt Bach (founding and current rhythm guitarist) of Shadows Fall on bass and with throat martyring carried out by Henry Derek, erstwile vocalist of another supergroup Scar the Martyr, Birth and the Burial (Metal Blade) by Act of Defiance is an intriguing prospect; low-key enough to not be an ego or alimony-inspired project, with big enough chops to promise a serious bangover.

The first song, ‘Throwback’, is noodletastic – the intro is like a bowl of ramen. Then we’re into an Overkill-esque riff that sets to tone for the rest of the track, which whilst being hugely derivative and keeps reminding me of several bands, gets the head nodding and yields the beginnings of a metal pout. Not bad. ‘Legion of Lies’ has big, rich, soupy riff goodness straight out the the Arch Enemy playbook that sets the left foot a-tapping and gets the head nodding from the get go and only lets up for the choral breakdowns that serve as choruses. Nice.

Elsewhere, ‘Thy Lord Belial’ sounds like the unholy love child of Slayer and Trivium which will have both camps wanting to hate it and love it at the same time; ‘Refrain and Re-Fracture’ opens in classic Megadeth style – it’s almost weird not hearing Dave’s vocals on this – and develops into a NWOAHM riff-fest; ‘Dead Stare’ gives us riffs from Testament, vocal breaks from Rise to Addiction, and the understandable play-every-note-you-can-find guitar breaks of Megadeth.

And that’s pretty much the story for the rest of the album. You have the wonderful symphonic sensibilities (and scales-as-solos) of Megadeth married to the modern frenetic circle-pit baiting bombast of the American New Wave. It’s great to see the old and new schools coming together in what is a very entertaining and promising first album, where the only criticism is that at times things sound bitty. While they haven’t quite managed to alloy the two sounds together just yet, I’m very much hoping to see what happens when they do.

 

7.0/10

 

PHILIP PAGE

Act Of Defiance Post Studio Update

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Act Of Defiance, the new band featuring former Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover, former Scar The Martyr singer Henry Derek Bonner and bassist Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall), issued an update on the recording of their debut album. They entered the studio with producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) to record their debut album via Metal Blade Records. View the album trailer below.

“At this point of the recording of the new Act Of Defiance record — drums, rhythm guitars, bass — are finished. Guitar solos, clean guitars are pretty close to being completed, and Henry is around 70 percent done with vocals.
“The guys still have a few weeks to wrap things up, as it were, before we begin to mix the record with Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris, for which I personally cannot wait.

“The finish line is not far away in terms of the recording process and all of us cannot wait for you to hear what we have been working on for the past several months.”

He continues:

“People often ask me: what does the new music sound like? I loathe putting music in a nice tiny ‘heavy metal sub-genre’ box, so I won’t. Like I have said from the get-go, this music is 100 percent pure heavy metal made purely for musical purposes. We are creating music that we totally love, with hopes that others will dig it as well, which, at the end of the day, is all you really can try to do, in my opinion. Elements of thrash, progressive, traditional, dynamic — it’s all there and then some.

“We have been working with Travis Smith (Opeth, Nevermore, Overkill, Sanctuary) for our artwork, to which he has really come up with some twisted, bizarre, awesome concepts (right up my alley), which has also been very exciting. We cannot wait to see the finished ideas, to which he will provide in due time.”

A message from Act Of Defiance’s Shawn Drover:”So, I think it’s time for an update, so let’s go!!!!!!At this point…

Posted by Act Of Defiance on Friday, April 3, 2015

Former Scar The Martyr Vocalist, Ex-Megadeth Members Demoed Six Songs

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Former Scar The Martyr vocalist Henry Derek Bonner has been confirmed to have joined the new outfit featuring former Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover.

Drover commented:

“At this point, I can reveal to you that Chris Broderick and myself have the ‘music’ for our debut record written. Henry Bonner is our singer, who has sang on six songs in demo form at this point, to which its all sounding 100 percent heavy metal. Some of the songs are very aggressive and fast, others are more ‘accessible’ to the average heavy metal listener.
“I don’t like to label everything into the 100 subgenres of metal. To me, ACCEPT is pure heavy metal, yet so is KING DIAMOND and GOJIRA. Do they sound the same?? No, but they are all metal!!
“Chris, Henry and myself are all fans of all kinds of heavy music, which is great, as we are not putting any musical parameters on what we are creating here, which is very liberating, I must say.
“There is still a ton of great things going on that we cannot reveal at this point… Just know that we are all working hard to bring you the best heavy metal music we can.”