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Defender - 2005 Shout


DEFENDER - SHOUT (2005, AKTIV SOUND STUDIOS)
Niko Gratz - lead guitars, backing vocals
Tobias Kapferer - lead vocals, rhythm guitars
Andi Hauser - bass, backing vocals
Jurec - drums, percussion


Background
Defender might very well be a common band name, but these Austrian metallers flew pretty low to the ground when this was released back in 2005. 'Shout' was the result of Defender having done well on a nationwide Austrian band contest, the band placed second, and enabled them to enter Aktiv Sound Studios to record the album - also being released on their label. Defender are very much playing traditional 80's euro-metal in the vein of Iron Maiden, Raven, and many other similar metallers from the same era. It's old school metal revisited, with an anti-war theme the centerpiece of their lyrics (and band name no doubt too!).

The Songs
Defender deliver ten songs, two of which are ballads ('Scorn' and 'Hold On'). Their 80's style is defined very early on in the piece with 'Don't Try' full of those familiar and typical guitar riffs from that late great decade. Nothing new so far. 'Key To The Top' is faster paced hard rock which reminds me of all those Mausoleum LP releases from the early 80's. 'Launch The Rockets' is pretty good, chugging guitars and all, you can tell this one is aimed (excuse the pun) at war prevention. The ballad 'Scorn' is a nice change, with melodic acoustic guitars the principle instrument. Tobi Kapferer sings with great feeling on this one. More modern sounding is the title track 'Shout', it's ok, but the next track 'Soldier' is probably the albums weakest moment. The alternating guitar sound just doesn't work in my opinion. One is distortion, one is clean, and they are singing about war and killing. Not a good fit. 'Human Rights' and 'Nitro' are much better, the latter sounds like a Vicious Rumors offcut, and to make things more interesting, 'Hang Around Soon' is probably the albums heaviest moment, with deep sounding guitars (not quite grunge) and the effect is immediate. Not forgetting the other ballad 'Hold On' which uses piano and guitar to good effect. Again, Kapferer sounds excellent in ballad mode.

Summary
The band broke up soon after the recording of this album. It received no promotion at all, though I did see mention of it on sites as far afield as Japan and the USA, but nothing more. Andi Hauser tells me that Defender have reformed as a trio with a new line-up, centered around Niko Gratz (lead vocals and guitars) along with a new bassist and drummer. Apparently they are working on a new album for 2009, which will be interesting to see. Watch this space.

URL: www.aktivsoundstudio.at
Sponsor: Andi Hauser

Track Listing:
01 Don't Try
02 Key To The Top
03 Launch The Rockets
04 Scorn
05 Shout
06 Soldier
07 Human Rights
08 Hang Around Soon
09 Hold On
10 Nitro

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