Defy the Tide – In the Shadows I Shine (Self-Released)Friday, 13th May 2016
Shoulder to shoulder Bandcamp discoveries thanks to your esteemed co-editor have put this scribe on a trail of research and hope to bring new talent to the fold beyond record label pastures. Forming in the spring of 2014, musicians from Pittsburgh and the surrounding Ohio Valley come together as Defy the Tide – a quintet posed to bridge a number of different melodic/heavy metal sub-genres into quite the potent platform. Quickly getting a self-titled EP out in the summer of 2014, the follow up In the Shadows I Shine contains 3 songs with a lot of the spirit and gallop of traditional 80’s metal, but adding in a bit of the darker/evil intonations that some younger, modern acts employ to widen the aural prism for the band.
Jumping head first into a doom-riff start which gives way to a galloping, harmony-laced guitar parade, “Redemption” storms ahead, galvanizing the hordes who long for Iron Maiden to click again in their 80’s prime, along with a healthy dose of Iced Earth and Riot. “Upon the Looking Glass” incorporates a lot of clean, quieter transitions against the mid-tempo groove and infectious power chord combinations – properly giving guitarists Jesse Scott and Matt Friede ample opportunity to access their skill sets, including a killer twin harmony cultural instrumental bit. The finale “Leilah’s Salvation” is probably the heaviest cut on offer, using a lot of double bass from drummer Luke Tenley and low-tuned chug that may hint at some of their metalcore roots (Trivium possibly) – but overall this release has more American power metal bite with no breakdowns or out of place screams in sight.
Where Defy the Tide can separate themselves from the pack is in the heart-felt, powerhouse range from vocalist Carly Simon-Warneke. Confident yet bluesy in spots, her higher propensities can make ears and bodies stand at attention, as if melding together the best of Pat Benatar and Bruce Dickinson. Holding out a lot of high notes on “Redemption” sold me from the start – something most after hearing this EP would love to witness in a live setting. Brimstone Coven’s Andrew D’Cagna handled the production for this release – assuring in your face punch and proper balance that puts the group in the best light.
In the Shadows I Shine leaves me wanting a lot more (as a 13-minute EP should), this is invigorating US power metal with stellar musicianship, hooks, and melodies.