When I discovered the band DEFECTO four years ago, I was very impressed by the energy in their music and their technical skills. “Excluded” (2016) was (and still is) an expressive debut album, with very personal songs about struggling and loneliness (also represented by the dark album cover, showing a solitary boy in a small ray of light). The follow-up, “Nemesis,” offered more epic elements into their music, with lyrics about personal fights and inner demons. “Duality” is their highly-anticipated third effort (release date 23 October 2020), and the title suggests a bit of a thematical change. Even though this is not a concept album, the overall topic of dualism can be found in the songs, but also in the detailed cover artwork, that might be interpreted in different ways, but always leads to the main theme. Let’s take a closer look at “Duality” and the musical development of the Danish quartet.
The album opens with “Rings of Saturn” and a lovely guitar intro, before the first riff kicks in. The song continues by alternating heavy with light parts, and the appearance of a choir brings in a special mood. What stands out from the beginning are the expressive vocals of frontman Nicklas Sonne and the great guitar work. “The Uninvited” can’t deny a certain influence of prog-masters SYMPHONY X. It’s an epic song with different musical styles, like symphonic elements, a fantastic guitar solo, and even a few death metal hints. Definitely one of my highlights on “Duality.” Prog metal fans, watch out!
The following “Rise” is very groovy but still heavy, and invites you to sing along because of its catchy chorus. The accompanying video is the third element in a storyline that started with “Sovereign” in 2016 (the first date) and “Savage” in 2017 (yes, wedding and metal fit well together). I love this kind of humorous clips, and it was with great pleasure to see DEFECTO rise again now.
“Paradigm of Deceit” is a ballad for fans of melodic metal, that mainly lives by the energy in the vocals. With “All For You,” they’re back on track, the powerful dynamic grabs me every time. The band comes up with so much joy in their playing, it’s infectious! Time for some modern rock ‘n’ roll and “Untamed.” The trumpets deliver an additional groove here, so feet and head start to move automatically. “Condemned” brings all elements to the top that DEFECTO stands for me: powerful riffs, expressive vocals, epic production, and a mesmerizing guitar solo.
Over the last third, they give up a bit of the high pace. “Bed of Nails” is a mid-tempo song about missing a beloved person. With “Washed Away,” they drift more into the pop direction and even though this won’t become a favorite here, the vibraphone sound gives it an interesting, positive touch that fits to the lyrics. “Tempest” might be the most experimental track on “Duality,” combining a kind of techno beat with heavy riffs, which brings in a special energy. The album closes with “Don’t Say Goodbye,” another emotional ballad, supported by beautiful piano and guitar parts.
Altogether, “Duality” is the next impressive album in DEFECTO’s discography. Compared to the previous releases, the songs have a more positive and melodic vibe, but it’s still the very own DEFECTO sound with powerful riffs, mesmerizing guitar solos, and incredible vocals. As serious musicianship and an epic production meet with joy of playing and creativity in song-writing, the result is a great listen. The songs are accessible at the beginning, but when you listen closer, there is a lot to discover. With “Duality,” DEFECTO prove once more, that they’re musically untamed, by doing their thing, mixing up styles in a great way, and writing more fantastic music. Highly recommended to crank it up!
Written by Katha
- Rings of Saturn
- The Univited
- Paradigm of Deceit
- All For You
- Bed of Nails
- Washed Away
- Don’t Say Goodbye
Nicklas Sonne – Vocals, Guitars
Frederik Møller – Guitars
Thomas Bartholin – Bass
Mikkel Christensen – Drums
Black Lodge Records