Defeater, who just released their full-length record Abandoned via Epitaph Records earlier this year, have just put out a surprise 7-inch. The blue vinyl, of which Epitaph is only shipping 1,000 copies, comes with “Still & True” on Side A and “Let Me Down” on Side B. These tracks were only previously available as bonus tracks on the Abandoned full-length.
In no particular order, here are the HXC Magazine staff’s favorite records from 2015!
An acoustic guitar set, a 90s inspired grunge band, a hardcore band, and a pop punk act all played the same show Oct. 6th in New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. It felt like four different shows in one, or a really diverse variety show. Needless to say, I got nothing I was expecting.
Elder Brother–or apparently only the singer, Dan Rose, without the band–opened the Tuesday night show with acoustic guitar songs and some jokes while he tuned his guitar. Odd, because I was there for Defeater and I was expecting nothing but Massachusetts hardcore. As he began playing I braced myself for the worst, but Rose was definitely not bad. Elder Brother is worth checking out if you need some slower, softer music.
Superheaven, which can easily be called a Nirvana copycat, came on next with some catchy, grungy tunes. Nothing you haven’t heard before and I was getting restless for some heavy shit, not to mention the air conditioning was on full blast on a chilly October evening. I wanted to see movement.
Then Defeater came on fast and hard. Most bands don’t sound like their recordings during live performances. Defeater is no exception. Drums generally overpower vocals at live events and sometimes the vocals suffer without the magic of post-production. Defeater is an exception in this case. This was one of the best performances I have seen. Derek Archambault’s impassioned screaming was loud and clear. His voice took over the Gramercy and commanded the crowd’s attention and movement. The drums, which sometimes seem like a distant background on their digital tracks, crashed and battered through the rhythmic guitars louder than expected. Drummer Joe Longobardi was mesmerizing by himself, enjoying the moment and lost in his own little world of a drum kit.
Aside from being harder and stronger live than through my headphones, the visuals greatly added to Defeater’s performance. Archambault was like an angry Energizer bunny two-stepping, hopping around non-stop, and crushing the airwaves with a powerful, bewitching voice in front of a mock stained glass church window. The lights transitioned red, yellow and white adding a churchlike perspective to their set, about half of which was composed of songs from their latest album, Abandoned.
Following the awe-inspiring Defeater came Boston pop punk headliners, Four Year Strong. The crowd had grown during the break between bands and was itching to leave its feet. In my experience, the unlikeliest bands cause the most ruckus. Song after song the crowd surged and jumped and thrashed as intensely if not more so than at a heavier band’s show. They, like Defeater, are much better live. You could feel the connection between band and audience and it was contagious. I couldn’t help but like what I was seeing, even though I don’t like pop punk.
This is a tour you don’t want to miss if you want a show experience unlike what you’re accustomed to. At the very least, come for Defeater and witness one of the best hardcore bands currently out there.
Review by David Marulanda. Photos by Alexander Chan.
I have never heard a sadder hardcore album than Defeater’s Abandoned. Derek Archambault’s voice is a haunting, screaming whisper reminding us of our imperfections and flaws. The record encompasses nearly the entire spectrum of sadness and guilt. Abandoned is told from the point of view of a priest who knows the family from the band’s first three full-lengths. He is destitute with his guilt and it’s eating him from the inside out.
Defeater have taken a softer approach with their instrumentals on Abandoned. The drums are slower than in previous work, and the guitars often play quietly and sometimes stop all together. This record is about the lyrics, which separates this band from its hardcore contemporaries.
“I was a good man once,” resonates with you even after “Unanswered” has finished playing. This admission of downfall is prevalent in every song. At first, the priest’s fall from grace can be attributed to the war, but it seems unclear if the war ruined him or if it is simply the fallibility of human nature. The record goes through his various sins (as he sees it) and his anger at a God wholly missing from his life. He’s stuck in a cycle of hope for an answer from God and denial of God with its accompanying suffering.
“Spared in Hell” reveals that the priest’s near death experience in the war and the chaplain’s sacrifice to save him led him to the priesthood, but the horrors he witnessed led him to the bottle.
“Since I was spared in hell I repay the old chaplain that saved me.
I spend my days with the good book,
Follow every chapter, prayer, and verse.
I spend my nights with my vices
Just to find some proof in the words.”
“December 1943” is about the inhumanity he experienced while serving during the war. He wants to remember, but all he can conjure up are half memories and pain.
“I can’t remember
Each time it slipped right through my fingers.
The eyes and faces of my brothers,
They never made it back home to their mothers.”
“Borrowed and Blue” is remorseful, but it isn’t angry or directed at God. It’s a nostalgic love song for a woman he once had in his life. The priest is only a man, after all.
“I maybe a sinner,
Forsaken and damned,
Selfish with pride for the touch of her hand.”
From their upcoming record Abandoned comes Defeater’s new music video for “Unanswered.” Black and white live footage of the band and scenic natural shots pair off with this single’s minimal style for a more intimate experience than your standard concert video. A little past the 1-minute mark, the song gets stripped down to the isolated melodic uncleans of vocalist Derek Archambault, proving that sometimes the less sound there is, the more it resonates.
Check out the video below and grab Abandoned when it hits stores August 28th.
So in case you haven’t heard the good news, those hardcore storytellers in Defeater are about to drop a new album called Abandoned on August 28th via Epitaph Records. Now, as many of you know, Defeater is an interesting band because all three of their previously released full-length albums have told the same story but through the eyes of different characters each time. While many fans speculated that this fourth record would tell the story of a family plagued by the effects of WWII from the mother’s side of the story, the release of their latest music video for the track “Spared In Hell” hint that it may take the perspective of the priest who made an appearance on the track “Cowardice” from 2008’s Travels.
Check out the video for “Spared In Hell” below and let us know where you think Defeater is headed with their fourth full-length installment.