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TRACK LIST: 1. Demiourgos 2:19 2. Newborn Sun 9:36 3. Portraits 7:32 4. Prayers 5:50 5. Mismatch 5:16 6. Imitation 7:10 7. Ningma 0:44 8. Anaesthesia 4:24 9. Suppression 6:13 10. Ab Originis 0:54 LINEUP: Piotr Stepinski – vocals; guitars Rafal Warniello – guitars Pawel Siemaszko – bass Tomasz Semeniuk – drums; electronics
Prolusion. The Polish band DEFYING was formed back in 2008 and, for the first years of its existence, its musicians concentrated on settling a firm line-up and to record demo tapes. When their current line-up stabilized in 2013, they started to work with material for their debut album, "Nexus Artificial", which was self-released in 2014.
Analysis. Progressive metal is a variety of progressive rock that comes in just about as many flavors as the ones sticking to the rock-oriented parts of the progressive universe. While the genre’s founding bands had a particular expression, it didn't take all that long for later bands to expands these initial boundaries, and the Polish band Defying is among those who resides in the more recently developed parts of this landscape. Dark, brooding atmospheres are a key feature throughout this production, where elements are combined in a manner that actually makes the end result just a bit darker and unnerving than the individual details might indicate. And just like many modern progressive metal bands, they manage to accomplish that mainly by avoiding using any dramatic, striking effects or developments. In fact, some of the most unnerving passages on this CD are the three short atmospheric pieces, with an almost ambient, machine-like dystopian presence, creating a distinct mood of that very nature. As far as the compositions themselves go, they tend to alternate between gentler passages, sporting plucked guitars, bass and drums with more vibrant, riff-based excursions, where dark toned, tight and vibrant guitar riffs dominate the latter, fairly often these will be rich and rather majestic as well. resonating notes and reverbs are used as overlays, alongside guitar soloing, and a subtle keyboard presence will at times emphasize the dark and bleak aspects of the songs. Nervous, elegant post rock textured instrumental details are used to good effect as additional flavoring, while a guttural, primal vocal style of the kind that might be described as a low key growl further adds to the brooding tendencies of the compositions. Some tribal drum patterns appear here and there as well, but with the effect of increasing tension and emphasizing the intensity rather than as a mean of adding a more folk-tinged, grounded element to the material. The album as such comes across as accomplished, the compositions as well planned, and executed accordingly. Few if any weak tracks as far as my tastes are concerned, while compositions such as Prayers and Suppression hover around the borders of the brilliant, as I experience this production.
Conclusion. Modern progressive metal of the darker variety is what Defying gives us with their debut album "Nexus Artificial", in terms of music a blend of Riverside and Porcupine Tree is a description that comes to mind, but with a darker overall mood and atmosphere and with post rock-oriented details added to the proceedings. If this sounds compelling, and you don't mind a vocal style of the growl-oriented, guttural kind, then this is a CD that should be worth investigating further.
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