SKULL140

DEFYANCE, Voices Within (1992, demo)

The skull:
I’m not sure what all that curvy business is; is is part of the logo? Some kind of ornate Poe-style bladed pendulum? Demonic headgear for skully orthodontia? Whatever it is, the skull looks a little surprised. “Oh hey! What are you doing? I didn’t see you there…” He’s probably embarrassed to be caught posing for this low-rent demo. “It’s just a quick pencil sketch for some metal band, nothing serious,” he says, and you nod in understanding, but he knows you’re giggling on the inside.

The music:
I don’t think I personally own this demo, but I’m fairly certain I own the band’s first self-released disc, which came out in the mid 90s. Melodic metal was thin on the ground in the States back then, and we who loved that shit were reduced to buying some truly rotten crap in the hopes of finding some lone holdout for power metal in the aggro decade. Defyance were certainly not the worst of the bands working that circuit back then, but they also didn’t stand out as particularly great. These four songs have a commercial slant not unlike, say, Fifth Angel, but not as good. That this demo is form 1992 is a sign that probably these guys also listened to their share of hair metal, but preferred to make their metal a little heavier, even if they couldn’t get away from the corny lyrical cliches. Probably the singer was more into Cinderella than Iron Maiden, but the other guys in the band had to put up with his corny lyrics because it’s so hard to find a guy who can hit the high notes. You can easily imagine Defyance as the second local opener for a Savatage club show circa Streets. Good enough that you’d tap your foot while you were at the bar talking to your buddy, but not so great that you’d consider moving closer to the stage. Just good enough, in other words, and no better.
— Friar Johnsen

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