Released on April 15, 2016 (Frontiers Music Srl)
Review by Metal Headz Media:
The Defiants is a new project that features three members that are currently in or were in Danger Danger (“D2“): Bruno Ravel (bass, guitars, and keyboards), Rob Marcello (lead guitar) and former lead singer Paul Laine (vocals). The three of them are joined by Van Romaine on drums. It has been since 2009 that we have heard any new music from the D2 clan, so the president from Frontier Records, Serafino Perugino, suggested they start this project and get some new music out there for their fans.
For anyone that is a fan of Danger Danger, you will sure enjoy this self-titled album from this group of musicians who have been in this business for over 30 years. This album is filled with excellent guitar work (catchy hooky riffs and loud fast guitar solos), a synth keyboard sound that is reminiscent of the old D2, and very catchy “sing along” choruses that made arena rock so popular. I am more familiar with the Ted Poley era of D2 than Laine’s time with them, but I really do like his voice with this music and now I want to find some of the music he has made with D2.
This album starts off with “Intro (Carillon’s Theme) that sounds like a song from a music box with a ticking clock behind it. There is a small part during it when the guitar kicks in and lets the listener know that things are about to kick in to high gear. Then the music and ticking stops and Laine starts off “Love And Bullets” with the line “You better get ready because I got news for you,” and that news is that they are here to rock! “Love And Bullets” is a good to start to the record, but “When The Lights Go Down” is a good indicator that we are in for one kick ass rock n’ roll album.
“Lil’ Miss Rock‘N’Roll” is a song filled with song titles that were very popular in the ’80s. They even throw in one of their own, “Naughty Naughty” from D2’s first album. Some other titles that they use are: “Slow Ride,” “Turn Back Time,” “Bang a Gong,” “Born To Run,” and “Video Kill the Radio Star.” Clever song writing to use all those titles, and it does not even sound cliché. This song will have anyone who grew up in the ’80s reminisce about the good ol’ days and some of the songs that they were listening to at a few parties! It is one of those ‘feel good’ songs that is always great to listen to if you are feeling a little down. This isn’t the only song that reflects on the past. “Take Me Back” is another one that talks about when they were young and living free during the summer. This songs reminds me a lot of Bon Jovi’s “Blood On Blood” (not the music, but the message in the song). Just makes you sit there and think about all the fun you had when you were younger.
This album would not be complete without a ballad or two. Now, there are some mid to low tempo songs on here, but I would not consider them to be a true ballad. The first ballad isn’t till track eight, “Save Me Tonight.” The second one is track eleven, “That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You.” Both are well crafted and have some excellent lyrics to go with the music.
I really do hope for good things for The Defiants, but I am afraid with the current state of music, that this album will just get pushed to the side (I hope I am wrong). I do think that a lot of these songs should and could be played on local radio, but that doesn’t seem to happen with this type of music. If you are a fan of D2 and some of the other bands to come out of that era, it is a must that you check this album out. I even invite people who might not have liked them, to give this album a try because you just might surprise yourself!
Review by Tyson Briden:
When a band consists of 3/4ths of a recognizable band such as Danger Danger the chances are very good that the album they are releasing is going to be of stellar content and that is definitely the case here. The Defiants consist of former Danger Danger vocalist Paul Laine, current Danger Danger bassist Bruno Ravel and guitarist Rob Marcello with session drummer Van Romaine rounding out the band line-up.
Being a big fan of Danger Danger, when the press release came out in late 2015 from Frontiers Records announcing the new project, I was ecstatic. Paul Laine was actually my preferred choice of vocalist for Danger Danger. I was also a big fan of Paul Laine’s 1990 solo release Stick It In Your Ear. In the coming months, a few tracks became available via The Defiants‘ Facebook/Frontiers Records‘ YouTube pages and what I was hearing was nothing short of amazing.
Come April 2016, the album finally arrived via Amazon. The first initial listen was astounding. The album starts off with an instrumental intro called “Carillon’s Theme” which was originally used in a Clint Eastwood western. The song is accompanied by a very melodic guitar part that fits nicely underneath the complexity of the arrangement. It lasts just over a minute, than from there, the fun begins. The first line of the second track “Love And Bullets” begins immediately with Laine proclaiming “You better get ready…”. “Love And Bullets” is a great lead off track that starts the album off with a bang. The band keeps the album moving with another rocker “When the Lights Go Down” which starts with a smoking lead by Rob Marcello and has a sing along chorus with great backing vocals. I can’t help but notice the texture of the music. The production of Bruno Ravel could rival Mutt Lange any day.
“Waiting On The Heartbeat” is up next and could very well be my favorite track on the album. It features a very melodic rhythm guitar underneath a precise vocal line. From this point of listening, I am captivated by the musicianship and the tight arrangements. “Runaway” is track 5five, which starts with piano and finger snapping. From there, a tight rhythm guitar kicks in for about 30 seconds. At that point, the young voice of Luke Ravel is heard doing the 1, 2, 3 count in. This cut could very well challenge anything on the radio today. “Lil Miss Rock N Roll” keeps the album moving and is a great song that cleverly references many classic rock songs of the ’70s and ’80s. They even had the audacity to include a line from the classic Danger Danger song “Naughty, Naughty.” This song also features a great bluesy guitar solo by Marcello that showcases his talent and versatility as a guitar player.
The next few tracks keep the album moving. “The Last Kiss” reminds me of something by the Marvelous 3. “Save Me Tonight” is a track that easily could fit somewhere between Hinder and Daughtry. The middle section of this track before the breakdown is pure genius and really drives the song to the next level. “Take Me Back” is a straight ahead ’80s rock song that feels like summer back in my younger years. “We All Fall Down” keeps the machine running on all cylinders. With a groove that keeps your foot tapping throughout. “That’s When I Stop Loving You” slows things down a bit and may very well be the best ballad I’ve heard in years. A driving bass line, with clean guitar underneath. The focal point of this song is Laine’s vocal delivery. The emotion this man exudes into every word definitely gives this song the extra push it truly deserves. The guitar solo is also a highlight with the slow bends demonstrating feeling in every note. Marcello delivers a performance that doesn’t show any sign of overplaying and it fits perfectly with the mood of the song itself. The album closes out with a ’90s power pop sounding song titled “Underneath The Stars.” A perfect closer that leaves you feeling satisfied from start to finish.
Overall, The Defiants‘ debut album is 100% pure melodic rock. This may very well be my favorite album in the last few years. For me it is up there with Warrant’s Rockaholic and Trixter’s New Audio Machine, which are two albums that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The musicianship and production of this album truly make me believe that The Defiants is a true masterpiece. The underlying parts beneath what is actually going on in the music, make hearing something new every time out very exciting. The layering of the tracks, with the extra use of piano, clean guitar and harmony vocals, coupled with very well composed songwriting give it the depth that I look for in a great album.
02. Love And Bullets
03. When The Lights Go Down
04. Waiting On A Heartbreak
06. Lil’ Miss Rock’N’Roll
07. Last Kiss
08. Save Me Tonight
09. Take Me Back
10. We All Fall
11. That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You
12. Underneath The Stars
Paul Laine – vocals
Bruno Ravel – bass guitar, guitars, keyboards
Rob Marcello – lead guitars
Van Romaine – drums
Produced by Bruno Ravel
Reviewed by Metal Headz Media in May 2016 and by Tyson Briden in November 2016 for Sleaze Roxx
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