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Album Review
Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights Album Cover

Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights

Reviewed by
9.0
Defeater Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
Record Label: Bridge 9
Release Date: March 8, 2011
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.

Catharsis: the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.


Defeater's new album should be another definition of the aforementioned. It should also be a definition of how hardcore should be done these days. With so many bands imitating the last few years, Defeater digs deep into the days when Victory Records was actually good and Revelation Records was a creed and code of how to not only be in a hardcore band, but play passionate, moving music. While the band has shown its skills with their debut and last year's 7" EP, Empty Days and Sleepless Nights perfects it.

After being beaten to death with the first three amazing opening numbers, Defeater step into beauty and rage with "Empty Glass," combing melody and exorcism - only building to one of the best moments on the record in the song's end. "Cemetery Walls" waves back and forth, only driving itself hundreds of miles an hour to the inevitable brick wall of a closing force. "White Oak Doors" defines the album, and it also positions Defeater as top of the hardcore game in their ability to create atmospheres as opposed to typical bro-core breakdowns. At the two minute mark, when the rhythmic tempo changes and begins to build to the song's abrupt end, you feel every word out of Derek Archambault's mouth. His audible catharsis is belting out against the background pounding of a door through a snare, and it's one of the most true things you will hear all year on record.

Where the blazing single of "Dear Father" revs the engine of the record forward, its abrupt ending leads to an intimate closing. The final four tracks of Empty Days and Sleepless Nights proves screaming and and shredding doesn't necessarily mean you're producing anything more than just noise. "Brothers" is a dark epilogue, and the rest of the band create a roaring fire in the background to Archambault's storytelling. In the wake of all the frustration at the front and middle of this chapter in Defeater's Canterbury Tales, "Headstone" closes out the album in style and grace. There's still confusion and fear lingering, but there's a hint of acceptance in all of it.

I'm the first person to make fun of the fact that every hardcore album these days seems to have the phrase "Oh my god!" in it, followed by some lackluster breakdown-by-numbers. We get it, you're in trouble. There's distress, and you're frantically looking for a way out. When "Dear God, what have you done?!" is berated out at the beginning of Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, you can feel it in the back of your heart. You can feel it in every problem buried in your busy life. At some point, after getting through the album's end, you even want to be the hand that reaches out to help. There's a lot more to come from the budding hardcore scene not only this year, but in hopes of the new decade to come. Defeater are now sitting at its forefront.

Track Listing1. Warm Blood Rush*
2. Dear Father*
3. Waves Crash, Clouds Roll
4. Empty Glass**
5. No Kind of Home
6. White Knuckles
7. Cemetery Walls*
8. Quiet the Longing
9. At Peace
10. White Oak Doors**
11. But Breathing
12. Brothers**
13. I Don't Mind
14. Headstone

*key tracks


Recommended If You LikeMake Do and Mend's End Measured Mile; pg. 99's Document #8; Rocky Votolato's Suicide Medicine
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 69
12:08 AM on 03/07/11
#2
Big_Guy
Idle Will Kill
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great review. agree 100%.


love this record
12:31 AM on 03/07/11
#3
TheBaroness
...
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Musically, I enjoy this album, but the concept just doesn't work for me. I don't think the story has enough depth to hold up two records - this record is little more than a retelling of Travels from a different POV. I also think the story suffers from being overly melodramatic - every character dies, but what do we actually learn about them? If you're going to be a 'concept band', I think you need to put a little more effort into these aspects of the story. Also, the acoustic tracks, while an interesting idea, really don't work for me, musically or conceptually.

While, melodically speaking, this album is a worthy progression from Travels, conceptually it's a regression, and really falls flat IMO.

I can't help but feel as if the band said all they wanted to say for these characters on Travels (or, rather, told their story sufficient so as not to warrant revisiting it any further), but weren't yet ready to be done as a band and thus tried to squeeze a bit more out of a story which was already bled dry. It's a shame because I'm sure this band has a lot more to say, but they're just not able to communicate it through these characters.
12:31 AM on 03/07/11
#4
Romancebled
Sleep underground tonight...
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This album rules.
12:40 AM on 03/07/11
#5
Mochem
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I haven't listened to Defeater enough to be able to name a single song of theirs, but I bought this album after hearing how great it is.
12:54 AM on 03/07/11
#6
Mr. November
I won't fuck us over.
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Musically, I enjoy this album, but the concept just doesn't work for me. I don't think the story has enough depth to hold up two records - this record is little more than a retelling of Travels from a different POV. I also think the story suffers from being overly melodramatic - every character dies, but what do we actually learn about them? If you're going to be a 'concept band', I think you need to put a little more effort into these aspects of the story. Also, the acoustic tracks, while an interesting idea, really don't work for me, musically or conceptually.

While, melodically speaking, this album is a worthy progression from Travels, conceptually it's a regression, and really falls flat IMO.

I can't help but feel as if the band said all they wanted to say for these characters on Travels (or, rather, told their story sufficient so as not to warrant revisiting it any further), but weren't yet ready to be done as a band and thus tried to squeeze a bit more out of a story which was already bled dry. It's a shame because I'm sure this band has a lot more to say, but they're just not able to communicate it through these characters.
04:36 AM on 03/07/11
#7
incognitojones
http://auburn-hills.tumblr.com
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I loved this record.
05:05 AM on 03/07/11
#8
Ryan Gardner
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Solid review and record
05:49 AM on 03/07/11
#9
mycuban
hermits.bandcamp.com
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Ive been listening to this a lot, good stuff.
06:24 AM on 03/07/11
Kbm600
Here, It Never Snowed
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"White Oak Doors" is brilliant.
06:47 AM on 03/07/11
silent_platypus
Elected Asskicker
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Friend recommended this. I'll give it a shot during the week, hope I like what I hear.
07:35 AM on 03/07/11
Alex DiVincenzo
www.alexislegend.com
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Excellent review. So far one of my favorite records of the year.
07:48 AM on 03/07/11
brent_ster
My Dinosaur Life
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Best review I have read in a long time, also excellent way to open it up.

Agreed 100% this record is hardcore done right.
07:56 AM on 03/07/11
Handraa
.-.-.-.-.
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I love this record.
08:13 AM on 03/07/11
onepartloss
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Really into this record, even with it being slower and the complaints against the vocal stylings.

Brothers is my least favorite of the acoustic tracks, though.

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