Herefordshire based Alt-Metal 5-Piece Defences are set to release their sophomore album, In The Balance, this Friday. The album is based upon the experiences of singer Cherry Duesburry over the past few years, alongside the pandemic, as a way to find positivity and hope within the turbulent world, we currently inhabit.
This is instantly noticeable within the first track of the album, Something More, with the line “Show us there’s something more”. Accompanying the lyrics that are begging for guidance are well-written Metalcore riffs and thanks to a very hooky chorus, the song sticks in your head. As the album moves along, the internal search for clarity continues with inspiration from different elements of Modern Metal, be it the more Djent-heavy riffs and excellent vocals in Say It or the chuggy aggression mixed with ambient electronica in Voices.
By track 4, In The Black, I found myself slowly growing tired of the overly obvious inspiration from the likes of Architects, Wage War, Polaris and Bury Tomorrow. Luckily, track 6 and the albums most recent single, False God, which tackles the BLM movement and the horrendous levels of racism within the police force, manages to separate itself musically from what came before it with ridiculously heavy riffs and an insanely catchy chorus once again and shows exactly what Defences are capable of.
While track 9, Ocean Floor, has more of a focus on electronic/synth-based ambience for the verses which serves as a great change of pace, I once again found that the second half of the album mostly sounded the same as everything that came before it.
In The Balance is an incredibly strong release, with fantastic musicianship and thought put into every aspect of the songwriting process. But this doesn’t make my biggest issue with the release any less noticeable. While having elements of the bands that inspire you is a great way of drawing in potential fans, I found myself too often thinking “I could just listen to Architects” during my time spent with this release. Defences have created a great album, but at points, it just leans too heavily on its influences. If you’re a fan of modern metal though, definitely give it a listen and I highly recommend checking out False God to see Defences on their A-Game.
Review: Daniel Stapleton
‘In The Balance’ arrives this Friday, October 15th