Release Date: Aug 28, 2015
Record label: Epitaph
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Indie Rock
Defeater's execution of concept albums raises the industry bar. Abandoned, according to the record label, chronicles the story of a lapsed Catholic priest, whose battles in Europe during the war (circa 1943) drag him first toward faith and then his own poisonous faithlessness. Derek Archambault's writing here remains as strong as ever and picks up stylistically right where Letters Home left off.
Although they are often placed in the same vein of melodic hardcore as bands like Terror and Touché Amoré, Defeater resists typical hardcore labeling. Rather than shouting anthemic chants over down-tuned two-steps, the Boston-based quintet brandishes unique literary merit alongside musicality that delivers both hardcore punches and post-rock glints. Bolstered by the lyrical prowess and the throat-threshing screams of Derek Archambault, Defeater has used their discography to dramatize the history of an unnamed family caught in the throes of poverty and violence after World War II.
Defeater have set themselves apart in the hardcore scene by using their music as a vehicle for strong concepts and stories throughout their career, and Abandoned — their latest entry into the tragic saga of the unnamed family — finds the New England quintet weaving a bleak, brooding tale around even more sinister instrumentals. Listeners see through the eyes of the priest introduced on their debut album Travels via Derek Archambault's vivid lyricism, and the conviction in his vocal delivery brings this character to life in each song. Defeater conjure a sense of despondency and subtle, gloomy moments of melody on "Remorse" and "Pillar Of Salt," and imbue even the brisker, more aggressive cuts, such as "December 1943" and "Spared In Hell," with the same emotional heft.
Abandoned may be Defeater's first offering for revered punk label Epitaph, but the Boston-based hardcore group show little evidence of a career makeover. Since their 2008 debut, Travels, frontman Derek Archamault and his four companions have continued to develop their sprawling conceptual narrative concerning the lives of an unnamed blue-collar family set in post-WWII New Jersey. There's something comforting about Defeater's unwavering commitment to their ongoing saga and the fact that, after four solid albums dedicated to building up the story line, they didn't simply use their Epitaph deal to hit the reset button and start anew.