The land of Vikings is a well-known and feared kingdom of metal. Lars Ulrich, the drummer of Metallica, the heavy metal legend King Diamond & his old band Mercyful Fate, and the rockabilly rock/metal band Volbeat living the American Dream these days, have their roots there, and so do many other famous metal bands. I’m not just speaking highly of this country also known as Denmark, just because it’s my beloved home country, but also because we are a small, but very proud country of heavy metal. This year though has been kind of overwhelming with some of my most loved prog metal acts coming out with new stuff. This fancy club includes mighty Anubis Gate and their album “Covered in Black” (read the review here), technical prog metal act The Interbeing, but also newcomers prog act Theory, which is fronted by the multi-talented & kind of very busy heavy dude named Niclas Sonne. Theory did a homerun with their debut The Art Of Evil (read the review here), so will Niclas’ metal baby named Defecto reach the same level of approval within the metal community with the release of their sophomore album Nemesis? Well, keep reading…
Nemesis is the follow-up to the debut Excluded (read my review here) of Defecto, which have been turning the heads of fans and critics alike over the past year after it was released. Yes, the boys have been busy, very busy indeed. Not only writing a new album, but also touring all over the world (they are throwing the horns in Japan as we speak) and they most famous moment to date when they warmed up the stage for the bigger guns aka Metallica and Rammstein here in Denmark. Besides writing new music, and playing gigs with the Defecto machine, Niclas is spending his most precious time on various other Danish side projects like fronting the band Theory, Malrun, Evil Masquerade, and can also add producer, recording- mixing- mastering engineer & composer to his list of many skills. With other words he is a really busy musician and sought-after producer, but Defecto is still his top priority and it shows.
Sonne is still running the show on the front row with his versatile and powerful vocal performance and guitar shredding, and next to him we find his wingman Mr. cool himself Frederik Møller on guitar in the heavy-as-hell rhythm department Thomas Bartholin finger slaps his axe weapon while Lars Jensen beats up his heavy pounding drums. So no changes in the line-up since Defecto’s debut release last year. The quartet guides us through the dark musical landscape of Nemesis, and its unexplored waters never reached by the band before. The first thing that hits you is the beautiful and haunting painted artwork used as the front cover. It really grabs your eyes attention, and it’s hard to let go of again. The same goes for the 12 songs included on the album. Each one of them delivers something differently and unique to the overall listening experience, even though the album is using the same formula as its predecessor Excluded.
For those of you already familiar with the work of Defecto and have attended their gigs in the past, there will be no big eye opener with the opening song on the album. It’s an instrumental piece of art, used as entry melody for their ongoing live shows. It’s a beautiful orchestral song and the atmosphere surrounding it builds up the momentum for the following songs. The title track follows up quickly with a horror inspired intro before merging into a straightforward heavy metal meal spiced up heavenly by the fingers of Frederik Møller. The third track ‘Endlessly Falling’ is also an “old” song played occasionally during events also, with the warmup task for Rammstein becoming one of the most famous of them all. I still recall Sonne shouting out to the crowd RAMMSTEIN, RAMMSTEIN, RAMMSTEIN firing up the metalheads before the German Industrial metal machine came on stage. Another great song, a simple one, but yet very powerful. The 4th track ‘Savage’ is then next in line, a very different song compared to the other songs include. It sounds like something belonging to their countrymen Volbeat, very rockabilly and party sounding indeed. It’s also the first single & video of Nemesis, and follow’s in the same footstep as the crazy video ‘Sovereign’ from their previous album. It’s showcasing a different side of the band – not taking themselves too seriously. We will quickly move on to some of the highlights of the album. ‘The Sacrificed’ is the ballad of the album, and really demonstrates how talented Sonne is with his angelic and powerful voice. ‘Ode to The Damned’, another favorite of mine, introduces some Spanish guitar playing, before its heaviness will overwhelm you. From the middle section it really takes off. The clean and growling performance delivered by Sonne is taking it to another level, and the meaty riffs, thunderous drumming and groovy thick bass lines takes it even further. The real tour de force of the album is the song ‘Ablaze’, I simply can’t get the 80 synth vibes out of my head, it’s so addictive. So far, their best song available. I really dig it.
So, there you go. Nemesis is for sure an improvement/upgrade compared to the debut of Defecto, and the “only” real downfall is the mixing on some part of the album. Sonne demonstrated on the debut that he is THE BOSS, when it comes to producing/mixing an album, so not sure what happened here. It’s the main reason why 10 devils are not handed over, even though it’s rightly deserved.
With that said. The Defectos are back again and with Nemesis they earn a standing ovation with another landmark in Progressive metal. Defecto has transformed into something bigger, better and more beautiful than one could have expected and hoped for. This is ridiculous good, so mission accomplished boys.
01. The Final Night Of Silence (1:52)
02. Nemesis (3:28)
03. Endlessly Falling (5:01)
04. Savage (3:25)
05. The Nameless Apparition (5:25)
06. The Sacrificed (3:44)
07. Ode To The Damned (7:16)
08. Gravity (3:59)
09. Ablaze (5:56)
10. Before The Veil (4:13)
11. We're All The Enemy (4:02)
12. Ascend To Heaven (7:35)
Playing Time: 55:54 minutes
Nicklas Sonne - Vocals & Guitars
Frederik Møller - Guitars
Thomas Bartholin - Bass
Lars Jensen - Drums