Review by Larry Paterson
Artist: DEF CON ONE
Album: Brute Force and Ignorance
Label: Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records
Release Date: 16 October 2013
1. Brute Force And Ignorance
2. Caving In
3. Weapons Of War
4. No More Hate
DEF CON ONE have been around since 1998, albeit on hiatus for some of that time while lineups were finalised and band members busy elsewhere. Fortunately they have been hitting the live UK circuit for some time now and issued their debut album ‘Warface’ in 2012. Their blend of various shades of metal and hardcore hit the spot and saw the band playing the length and breadth of the UK. Now, while waiting for the arrival of their second album, we have been given a four track vinyl-only EP to fill the gap, which, in my opinion, shows the band improving on what was already a winning formula.
Title track ‘Brute Force And Ignorance’ opens fast, seeming to almost pick up where their debut album left off. Johnny’s guitar and Steve’s bass riffing lock in perfectly with Antton’s drums , both Johnny and Steve also providing genuinely meaty backing vocals on the chorus. Likewise, the downtuned guitar sounds so heavy it may well be tuned to ‘H’. After Davey pummels you with the first two verses it is the impeccably melodic vocal line that begins at 1:39 (and is repeated later)that not only sticks firmly in your head but provides a perfect counterpoint to the full-on aggression usually in the voice. It fits perfectly and showcases the evolutionary strides forward that DEF CON ONE are making after years of hard gigging.
‘Caving In’ follows with more solid guitar/bass riffing meshing perfectly with Antton’s kick drum driven groove. It actually stood out to me that Antton’s powerhouse drumming on this EP was rooted firmly around his kick drum and snare grooves, rather than using many tom rolls, which locks the rhythm of the tracks so tightly in place that you just know it is a result of the constant road work that the band have put in.
‘Weapons Of War’ clocks in at 6:10 and is the longest track on the EP, starting with a mid-paced riff that gets the head moving straight away. Yet again the trademark synchronisation of guitar, bass and drums gives Davey a chance to pour some killer vocals on top, backed by the ever mighty backing vocals of Johnny and Steve.
‘No More Hate’ rounds off the EP; a whispered intro leading into a savage pummeling of riffing and double bass drums. As much as I actually don’t like the term (it’s a personal thing – I’m sick of tiny nonsensical pigeon holes that people seem to want to stick every single metal band within), this is perhaps what people mean when they describe something as full on ‘groove metal’; this is the track that perhaps reminds me most of ‘Warface’.
Unfortunately this seems a slightly repetitious review – the same comments can apply to all the tracks: great ‘in your face’ vocals with melodic counterpoint; solid full-power drumming; tight and ‘hook-laden’ riffing; well constructed songs. But don’t let that fool you because fortunately, though the same points may apply to all, each track here has its own unique identity and ultimately they have added four more killer tunes to DEF CON ONE’s formidable reputation. The band has its own voice that sounds like no other – a genuine compliment in a metal world that sometimes thrives on rehashing what went 20 years before – and they are certainly a major force in UK metal. Having seen them live several times I can also safely say that as good as this EP is….wait until you hear this stuff on stage! Get hold of this EP now and support one of the UK’s finest.
Album Rating: 9/10
Band Members: Davey Meikle – vocals
Johnny Hunter – guitar
Steve Miller – bass
Antton Lant – drums