Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

Album cover
Post-hardcore
Bridge Nine
Defeater
Empty Days & Sleepless Nights
Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

The Wave. It is a collection of bands representing the current uprising of post-hardcore in the underground. And while all of the bands are certainly commonplace for those familiar with the term and the movement, the bands making up this collection have certainly each had their respective moments to shine slightly brighter than the rest. With their sophomore full-length Empty Days & Sleepless Nights, Boston-based Defeater are taking their turn to shine in full stride, creating an album full of unbridled emotion, passionate lyricism and seamless songwriting that heads straight for the heart and hits right on target. Whether you’re already hip to this band or not, Empty Days & Sleepless Nights is a must-listen that definitely should not be slept on.

Sometimes firing on all cylinders and other times melding beautiful melodies into a heart-tugging arrangement, Defeater have hit the nail on the head this time around. The electric portion of this disc is bursting at the seams with melodic ferocity, opening with the equally catchy and bombastic “Warm Blood Rush” – a number that pulses with urgency and passion through buzzing guitars and in-your-face vocals. “Dear Father” continues the vocal onslaught as singer Derek Archambault belts ‘Never make a promise that you can’t prove’, a line sizzling with emotion that ties right into the storytelling of the band’s conceptual WWII world-based lyricism. Sonically, Defeater excels not only at their command of the hardcore-leaning assault their sound usually embodies, but also the ability to strip it down to smoothy woven melodies that tracks like “Dear Father”, “Empty Glass” and “White Oak Doors” boast without losing the passion the faster tracks bring right to the forefront. Defeater also has a knack for solid grooves (“No Kind of Home”) to keep them from relying on the normal backbeat buzzfest that some bands can’t step outside of.

But when they switch to the acoustic portion of this album, Defeater take on a completely different face that while foreign is still quite fitting for what they want to do. Vocally, we get a smooth, yet personal voice to convey the stories of this conceptual family we’ve been told about since the beginning. The songwriting is catchy without being overly folksy, capturing the emotional qualities of the electric tracks in a totally different light. It certainly takes some getting used to, and in some cases it falls slightly flat (“Brothers”), but it shows us something different and puts the whole idea in a different looking glass.

Though Defeater certainly isn’t new to the game, Empty Days & Sleepless Nights should help propel this band to new heights, both in the post-hardcore realm and beyond. Hitting hard with passionate post-hardcore might not be the newest idea, but Defeater have certainly taken the art to staggering emotional and songwriting heights with this album.

1. Warm Blood Rush
2. Dear Father
3. Waves Crash, Clouds Roll
4. Empty Glass
5. No Kind of Home
6. White Knuckles
7. Cemetary Walls
8. Quiet the Longing
9. At Peace
10. White Oak Doors
11. But Breathing
12. Brothers
13. I Don't Mind
14. Headstone

Formed in Massachusetts in 2004 and solidified in 2008 from a diverse background of musicians, Defeater is a forward-thinking hardcore band with more to them than just mosh parts. The band recently released their debut full-length Travels on Topshelf Records and now, to celebrate their new home, Bridge Nine Records will be re-releasing Travels on CD internationally as well as the vinyl edition in conjunction with Topshelf Records on February 24th, 2009.

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