DEFY ALL REASON – The Road Ahead

Defy All Reason - The Road AheadLately, there has been pretty heavy traffic in my mailbox with links for downloads with new bands that I have never ever heard of for me to review. Add to the fact all the new records from bands I do know, many of which I am a fan of, that comes out in a never stream during spring time and being the sole revieweron this site, you don’t have to be a maths genius to figure out that many of the reviews won’t make it until after release date. But hey, this is what we call a luxury problem. Being a big music fan, I really love to get the chance to check out new bands like this, to me this is an opportunity and fortunately, I can listen while working so my days move quickly, to say the least. Sometimes the bands I get to review is really good and sometimes they’re not, but that comes with the territory and after all, a review is only one man’s opinion. Agree or not, but I like reading reviews and checking out all the different views people have on bands, especially since I started out reviewing stuff myself. Also, it’s wonderful to read the comments from people, most of them are really nice and complimentary, but some are the complete oposite and some people even gets mad and come with insults. But, hey, it’s really cool that people care enough to comment. Now to this band and record, Defy All Reason are four guys from Wrexham, Wales – Gavin Lee Jones on lead vocals and guitars, Daz Jones on guitar, Lee Shenton on bass and Todd Edwards on the drums – that decided that enough was enough and that what the world needs is a great classic hard rock band that combines aggressive and in-your-face riffs with memorable melodies and catchy choruses that will leave you wanting more. With quite a bit of touring behind them and also a debut E.P. – “Every Second Counts” – the band is hoping that their debut album The Road Ahead will be their first steps towards world domination. Well, at least put them on the rock ‘n’ roll map, to begin with. Even though I think that the band’s name leaves a lot to be desired – I really don’t think that Defy All Reason is a good name on a band – I get a good feeling about this record only by looking at the cover, I love the artwork. Let’s see if that feeling is accurate or if I’m forced to bring out the old chainsaw on this one.

Opener “Midnight Train” brings a broad smile on face. This is heavy rock with a big groove and every fan of Black Stone Cherry’s two first album will love this. “Bad Blood” might be an odd choice as the leading single as it is not an über commercial hit single – the song is very much in-your-face and raw, but it has a really great melody and I do prefer bands releasing this kind of song as a first single than the most obvious pop song with the big chorus. “Behind Those Eyes” would serve well as a single though. A raw power ballad that mixes Metallica’s version of Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” with Y&T’s “I Believe In You”. What a killer tune! “You Get Me High” is just so awesome, kind of like Kiss meets Led Zeppelin playing stripped, raw and catchy hard rock. “Bad Taste Of You” gives us a bit of a headbanging moment with some real heavy riffing. It has a killer groove that goes almost metal on us and a touch of pop on top of it – brilliant! “Finding My Way (Back To You)” is a ballad – the title kinda gives that away –  that starts out very soft, but grows into a big groove. It’s a slow tune all the way through and it has an amazing melody. If you have ever heard of Norwegian classic hard rock / metal outfit Audrey Horne, and if you like them, then “Shame” is for you. It has a garage rock turned pop sound with a very memorable melody. I hear a big Thin Lizzy influence in “I Run” and as a major Lizzy-fan, I support this all the way. It also makes me think of a rougher rocking Dare – yes, I love this one. “Because Of You” is built on a more sleazy and dirty rhythm, very raw but still very melodic and catchy – like the best of both worlds. When I first saw that DAR had a a tune called “Wanted Dead Or Alive”, I thought that it was a but unimaginative because well, everybody would think of Bon Jovi. Well, listening to it, it turned out that it indeed was the Bon Jovi song. First of all, there are lots of Bon Jovi tracks better suited to cover, if that is what you want, but this is not a good choice at all. The song is impossible to do justice and DAR do fails on that as well. See, the arrangement is both too alike the original and not alike enough at the same time. If you want to cover Bon Jovi, then try one of their more obscure tunes. “The Only One” is great, though. It’s a southern rock smelling ballad with a huge hit potential. The song is catchy as hell and damn brilliant. They close the album with a tune called “Redemption” and this is what I call saving the best for last. It starts out as a southern rock swinger, breaks off with a Black Sabbath “Children Of The Grave” – like riff and ends as a straight forward classic rocker – breathtaking and then some!

Even though there has been some new good bands in my mailbox lately, this is the band I have been waiting for. These guys sport everything that I love in music – great songs, good musicians, heart, soul, creative thinking, great arrangements, melody, aggression and big choruses. Only the Bon Jovi cover falls on the way side, but that is a minor error. Also, the production is really up my alley. The album is self-produced with drummer Edwards being responsible for the mixing and great work, I say. I love that in these days of streaming music and lots of music is being produced for listening through computers, iPods and smart phones, it’s so refreshing to hear a new band that has realised the importance of listening through other devices – like a CD player or your car stereo, the way music is meant to be digested. So the over all sonics here is really great, making the album sound just as good in your car as on your phone. I still have a problem with their name – look, it doesn’t even look good shortened – DAR… – but hey, I’m willing to let that one slip. After all, I thought that both Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi were crap names when I first heard of them, so that proves just how much I know about band names. For all you who are reading this, there are no reasons at all not to buy this. None!

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

01. Midnight Train
02. Bad Blood
03. Behind Those Eyes
04. You Get Me High
05. Bad Taste Of You
06. Finding My Way (Back To You)
07. Shame
08. I Run
09. Because Of You
10. Wanted Dead Or Alive
11. The Only One
12. Cure For Healing
13. Redemption

 

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