||10/08/12 10:51 AM
Defiler - Nematocera
Defiler - Nematocera
Record Label: Razor & Tie
Release Date: October 9, 2012
I have to give it to the guys in Defiler. It would seem as if every odd has been stacked against them. It’s tough not to know that they’re the band that made “Cryomancer”, a song that made them the love of a handful of deathcore faithful and in all honesty, the laughing stock of an exponential amount more. That being said, the band’s signing to Razor & Tie is a double-edged sword – putting them in front of so many more people will either expose their weaknesses or provide some redemption for a band some might consider the most recent casualty of a one-hit wonder in the heavy music scene. All that aside though, Nematocera is reasonable enough at times for the band considering where they’ve come from. Even if they’re not quite there in terms of songwriting though, there’s enough fiery passion and flashes of impressive musicianship that your Chelsea Grin and Emmure fans of the world might find enough to enjoy about these guys – regardless if it doesn't quite fire on all cylinders from front to back.
The thirteen cuts of Nematocera punch, bob and brood come and go pretty quickly as the bleak lyrical topics and broad melodic strokes that support the vibe of this record pretty firmly. In all honesty, these guys can chug and flow with some of the more notable names in the genre, though when they can't do much to separate themselves from that pack it's a tough sell. “The Regulators” simply feels like it is missing something through much of the track, boring us with a midtempo chunk of guitar and almost out of sync drumming blasts. Frankie Palmeri of Emmure makes an appearance on another seemingly upbeat number that sounds more melodic than you’d expect this band to be, but “Octobortion” staggers through most of its riffing before busting through a chorus with admittedly on-point lyricism and the percussive punching following it.
While definitely falling more on the stale side at times, the bigger gripe lies within the heavily produced sound and structuring of these songs. “Lucky 38” is too draped in trickery to hit home, even with a solid enough riff to punch us in the gut. “Walk in the Glow” falls into the same pitfall, though on a smaller scale – dividing the downright vile and honestly workable juxtaposition of riffs and dim melodies with too many weird production bursts and overly layered vocals. It’s just generally confusing to hear mangled vocals and random distortion at times when the songwriting just simply needs to shine in order for people to really latch onto this band. On top of that, throw in the fact that there’s a heavily acoustic ballad for a closer on this record. I’m simply not sure what these guys are trying to do, but it’s difficult for this to feel like an album when there’s this much distraction from the seemingly core sound of Defiler.
It’s not to say that I don’t think these guys couldn’t do something in the near future though. From a musicianship standpoint, there are moments – some brief, others elongated depending on the source – where the members show their chops with more than the downtuned punching and less intricate or effective melodies that make up most of the disc. Vocalist Jake Pelzl still stands tall as a vocalist, even if his lyricism is still making noted strides, while the drumming of Ian Poole is more than ample if only misused in the process. It’s a shimmer of hope that I’d almost wish these guys would prove us wrong in the future, but as for now, consider this sophomore record a rather misfired step in Defiler’s chance to truly gain some ground in the heavy music scene.