Saturday, May 21, 2016
The DEFIANTS: "The Defiants"
Label: Frontiers 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Howdy Partner? Danger! Danger! Paul Laine (vocals), Rob Marcello (guitar), Bruno Ravel (bass), three cowboys riding into the sunset as The Defiants of the wild-wild west? Starting up the album with the instrumental piece by Ennio Morricone, you'd sort of expect the six-shooting concept album and lyrics in the vein of all the Billy The Kids and Buffalo Bills? But no such... luck? Here's where the Western theme goes down in flames.
It's the traditional wine and dine stories about Runaways, When The Lights Go Down, Waiting For a Heartbreak, etc. However, the Bon Jovi-ish single, "Lil' Miss Rock N Roll", manage to squeeze in and name-drop plenty and all of the classic titles from the likes of Foghat, The Eagles, KISS, D2, T-Rex, Springsteen, Mellencamp, The Cars, and The Buggles? It's far from the best track though and a rather strange choice as the single/video release.
New Jersey Cowboys? I think not. Nonetheless. You could never accuse the three of ditching their 80's sound, it's always present from the very first note, even if some of the choruses are "poppier" than usual. Indeed. You simply can't escape the D2 and Laine history and the opening three tracks are massive and almost too good to be true. Final verdict: The Defiants' self-titled debut is a close to perfect brand of American Rock that simply refuses to sacrifice either attitude or catchy hooks on the altar of melodic hard rock. Plenty of staying power, The Defiants have a clear grasp of style and direction and it's all about having a jolly good time. Well-crafted, well-played, well-put, hard rock with big melodies, big smiles, and big guns.