As one of the sounds that have remained virtually unchanged in its original spirit and execution despite the test of time and all the new blood that it has accrued in that time, thrash metal still stands as one of the most important pillars in all of metal music, but it’s as that clock keeps on ticking that the need for new talent feels all the more desperate. The classic names are still in total domination over what many think of when they think of the style in today’s standards, and we must have new names to take up those mantles when the inevitable time comes that the shift must take place. Despite having only been a presence for not even ten years, it was clear with their first album that Critical Defiance proved themselves to be a name to watch with their sophomore effort all but cementing any hopes and dreams we have for the name.
When this band came around with their breakthrough creation three years ago, it was all but evident to those of us who heard it that Critical Defiance was instantly a name that needed to have a sharp eye kept on at all times for it was clear right from the get-go that they were exceptional. Even just a glance at their newest effort of “No Life Forms”, though, it’s obvious that some sort of change has taken place. Far from a negative shift, if you ask me, and we don’t even know if it’s a permanent change or simply experimentation on the band’s part, but at a whole ten minutes shorter than its predecessor that this album finds itself treading upon greatness yet again albeit with a different approach. Infused with what I can only liken to energy pulled straight from the world of punk, these short bursts certainly stand on their own to create a vicious thrash listen that is able to come toe-to-toe with its predecessor without once leaning on its greatness to deliver a performance that is distinctly its own yet never once abandoning the qualities that Critical Defiance laid forth at its birth. It all comes together almost too well to really make “No Life Forms” a cut above much of the competition to drive home an outstanding assault upon the senses through the blistering speed that pulverizes bone and instantly brings the blood to a boil at every turn, and it’s even though I want to sit here and mope about wanting to see longer songs from Critical Defiance, it’s impossible for me to sit here and refute the fact that this band really feels like they’re in their element for the whole of the devastating performance.
There are always a few bands out there that always feel ready to take on the massive mantle of thrash’s future whenever that time comes around, but it’s my true belief that there is always room for more with such a thing and I know damn well that Critical Defiance will have earned their name to achieve such glory if creations like this are anything to glean from. There is true power in every given second of “No Life Forms” that cannot be denied lest it consumes you whole with the very power at play here nothing short of an absolute wonder to lose yourself in completely.
LISTEN to “No Life Forms” on Bandcamp here.
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