In 2015, Act of Defiance released an absolute barnstorming album in Birth And The Burial, it drew serious praise from many in the metal community, and now they are back with their second album Old Scars, New Wounds.
The album starts with MIA, this song is an arpeggiated solid, clean cut of growling, thrashing metal, that kicks the listener in the gut and makes them stand to attention. Molten Core continues the assault with a fast riff base ceremony on the anger of the world. Overexposure calms things down a little in tempo, being a slightly slower, moving groove and headbanging song. The acoustic intro of The Talisman belies the sheer doom that is to come. With big heavy riffs that build nicely into Henry Derek’s soaring vocals. Lullaby of Vengeance is pure heaviness, a song that has groove, texture and pure badassery.
Circle of Ashes starts off with a chrome riff, movement and abrasive, making it an immediate live stand out, which considering the calibre of material that has preceded it, is saying something! Reborn follows, a moving, haunting slab of metal, with an absolute roaring solo, another song that should feature heavily in the future. Conspiracy of the Gods is perhaps my favourite track on the record, the octave intro really brings one into the feel of things, the imagery pained by the lyrics brings the slave to religion question to the forefront which is something that is quite relevant today. Another Killing Spree starts with a breaking staccato and drag riff, before moving into the punishing routine that will have moshpits starting when played live. Broken Dialect starts with arpeggios, before moving into a double blast, and a haunting chorus that sends shivers down the listener’s arms. Rise of Rebellion, the closing track on the record, starts with a haunting minor acoustic intro, before moving into an eastern themed riff with roaring lyrics and guitar parts, a fitting closer.
Old Scars, New Wounds is a brilliant dose of metal, it brings something fresh to the genre, and these songs are some of the best work that has been produced this year by anyone. These songs deserve a fair airing live, and the crowd will be sure to love them and sing along. A solid effort. 10/10