Critical Defiance, No Life Forms (Unspeakable Axe 2022)

South American thrash metal band Critical Defiance returns with their sophomore album, No Life Forms.

Critical Defiance is from Chile, and they have been playing thrash metal in that vibrant scene since 2013. The new record follows the success of the band’s 2019 debut long-player Misconception, and it is a mighty step forward. Proceeding from the standard of early thrash lines, the music you will hear is rendered at high-speed and set to disrupt. Critical Defiance is not very concerned about where the border lines are in heavy music – they crank it up and do what they want, mixing in some delightful surprises. The band is Mauricio Toledo (guitar, vocals), Rodrigo Poblete (drums), Felipe Alvarado (vocals, guitar), Ignacio Arevalo (bass), and Javier Salgado (guitar).

There are ten tracks on the new album. Many are on the short side, with four running under three minutes. The kick-off is “A World Crumbling Apart.” Faithful to the title, this song comes at you from all directions at once, demonstrating apparent chaos. The speed is dizzying and there is a lot going on for a song that runs less than two minutes. It all sorts out in your head and the aggression and perfectly paced fretting gets the gears turning. “The Last Crusaders…Bringers of Death!” chomps at the bit all the way through. The vocals are urgent and forceful, and the rhythm section is deliberate and careening. The first guitar solo is executed with tripping ferocity while the second one is more melodic. It is an excellent combination. And then “Altering The Senses” pivots between a groove riff and a blistering rager. This album does not allow you to become complacent.

Other stand-out tracks for me are “Elephant,” which has a sort of jazz lounge thrash beginning before opening the gates of speed, and “Warhead,” a composition that is completely off the rails. A transition piece leads into the closer which is the title track and the longest song on the album. It is fantastic, displaying both the most patience of any piece on the album, and the greatest sense of completed energy. Thrash definitely lives on this record. Recommended.

No Life Forms is out now through Unspeakable Axe Records.




Unspeakable Axe Records,

© Wayne Edwards

Critical Defiance, No Life Forms (Unspeakable Axe 2022)