Defecto – Excluded (Power Prog Records)Sunday, 8th May 2016
Childhood dreams can transform into original bands – as is the case for the Danish quartet Defecto. Vocalist/guitarist Nicklas Sonne started his music career in his teens, while guitarist Frederik Møller and bassist Thomas Bartholin from boyhood worked together in a series of acts honing their progressive and technical chops. Starting in 2010 together with another drummer, in 2012 a self-titled EP came on the market along with latest drummer Lars Jensen – setting the stage for their first full-length Excluded.
Separation can be difficult in a genre where Dream Theater are a benchmark for progressive metal – yet Defecto use more of a varied, heavier, and often modern touch to launch their own take through these 11 songs. Vocal harmonies during particular choruses on the record give the music extra vibrancy – check out “When Daylight Dies” for instance as Nicklas’ arena rock meets 80’s pop melody choice sinks deep into the crevices and should be a Defecto mainstay in their live catalog. A lot of the main riff and chord choices do bring to mind Pagan’s Mind and the aforementioned Dream Theater- but there are layers of heavier guitar tones and synchronized/ symphonic splashes that can certainly appease those Symphony X/Nightwish followers. The circular piano to twin guitar antics within “Drifting into Blackness” represents the most immediate example, even including some deeper growls against the Hetfield-like clean sneer Sonne normally employs while the pressing riff change at the halfway point amps up the intensity tenfold.
Considering eight of the songs never eclipse the 4:30 mark Defecto make sure to pack the songs with the right amount of killer musicianship during the instrumental sections while also writing memorable hooks that are large and infectious – the best including the semi-cyber oriented “Desperate Addict” or low-tuned chugger “Sovereign”. When they do choose to go for a longer arrangement, you’ll get keyboard refrains and clean, bluesy guitar picking to build serene tension for the 6:43 “Into Oblivion”. Overall though, Frederik and Nicklas’ fluid shred skills are set to stun during many of the non-vocal sections of these songs – probably material that will be studied at length for most ardent axe maniacs.
Much like the previously reviewed Eternity’s End, Defecto go for a heavier approach to their songwriting and performances, and as a result Excluded will be included in a number of collections beyond progressive power metal and possibly into a few open-minded tech death or symphonic followers. Great stuff for sure.