London's modern metal masters, The Defiled, have taken their sweet time crafting the follow up to the genre-bending marvel 'Grave Times', but it certainly seems to have been worth the wait. Welcome back gentlemen! They pick up exactly where the first left off and any fears of the album falling flat are almost immediately put to rest. We are greeted by 'Sleeper' which hits like a stinging smack around the gabber. In a good way. 'That difficult second album' is apparently a concept that The Defiled boys don't quite grasp. Melding punishing riffs and sharp synths, however, is right up their street.
If you were hoping for respite after round one, you're out of luck because 'Unspoken' comes straight down on top of you. It mercilessly tries to punch your face through your arsehole with crushing grooves and picks you back up with a stadium-levelling chorus, just before stomping you back down with Stitch's harsh screams and some stampeding riffing. The Defiled bring everything that you could want from a metal song in 2013 and more. The AvD's trademark sound is scattered over 'Saints and Sinners' which shows off their resident loons jarring keys and samples, which are buried amongst a torrent of industrial spite. The bands run of form continues into the annihilating bounce of 'As I Drown'. You will struggle to find a better sing-a-long tune this year and this is set to become a live favourite.
The quintet are as tight a unit as they have ever been and the time spent under the supervision of producer Jason Suecof was well utilised. The songs are very strong but if I had to find a complaint, it would be the vocal mix. When you can write a chorus like The Defiled, you want it to stand tall when you belt it out. As a result, they can get a bit lost when they're needed most but overall the album sounds great.
Things are slowed down during 'Porcelain' but the pummelling soon returns for another furious four song assault. 'Five Minutes' is brutal in a completely different way to anything on the album. Stitch's unique voice and gut-wrenching lyrics take charge on the piano-led tear-jerker, which shows yet another string to The Defiled's bow. The rest of the band storm in around the fading piano on 'No Place Like Home' and they finish up strong. The track fades out with a devastating riff and some almost War of the Worlds samples (listen to it and you might get what I mean) but when silence does eventually fall, I was left with the feeling that something special was coming next. It tees you up perfectly for the follow up. None of the bands peers can match this quality and we may be looking at a solid album of the year contender right here! We should all be past the make up now and embrace The Defiled as one of the UK's finest bands.