The Defiants - Zokusho

The Defiants Zokusho cover
The Defiants
Frontiers Music srl
Truly I was hoping for a second album by The Defiants, but as time was passing by I thought that this was probably a one-time album. Thankfully, I was proven wrong and after three years the guys are back with their sophomore release, which is called “Zokusho”. This time the guys, Paul Laine (vocals), Bruno Ravel (bass guitar, guitar, keyboards), Rob Marcello (lead guitar), also have Steve West (Danger Danger) on drums. Well, I can’t help but think that this is a D2 alter ego or what?!
The new album has various elements from Danger Danger (how couldn’t it after all?), along with some modern touches and melodic rock influences from the 80s, 90s and the 00s. Straightforward melodic rock, with amazing vocals, catchy hooklines, killer riffs and superb rhythm section… well what else can a rock fan ask for? Let’s hope that The Defiants will continue and become a proper band… so as to enjoy them live at some point. The guys have so much talent that’s a pity not to be around as a full active band in the rock scene.
“Zokusho” is better than their debut on every part, even on the production. This album deserves to be and it will be on the lists with the “best rock albums of 2019”, at the end of the year. If you’re looking for a melodic rock album with wonderful melodies and sing-along choruses, along with great musicianship, then look out no more… “Zokusho” has it all! Just sit back and enjoy this astonishing album…
by Thanos
I must admit that while I found, The Defiants 2016 debut an okay album, I never thought it was truly special; featuring several members of Danger Danger, past and present it would have been a surprise if The Defiants were involved in anything else other than melodic rock and boy are they good at it, I mean, those who are aware of the debut already know so! by the way, “Zokusho” that means something like sequel/continuation in Japanese gets rid of the whole real life photo-shopped “Desperado” look than looked a bit tacky, if we’d be honest, for a sleeker, more modern, anime influenced drawn representation of the artists on the cover. Musically, there’s a little more freedom too, but not that much difference overall. Just a more refined and focused, intend in most of the songs.
The band shows it means business right from the go, with the hard rock of “Love is the Killer” that progresses from a smooth clean intro to full on 80s semi power ballad territory in a matter of a verse. Very strong opener!
“Standing on the Edge” is a little proggier and bluesier, but maintains the hard rock edge, despite its more rounded production. The soloing isn’t over complicated, but is very tasteful and 80s inspired.
“Hollywood in Headlights” is a little more melodic and breezy – a little more AOR if you will, during the bridge/chorus… and it has more cowbell than a sane man could tolerate, unless he was Bruce Dickinson of course… (not the Iron Maiden one)!
“Falling for You” has the big chorus and overall style, which would have made it a big hit during the 80s… a little more schmaltzy, considering DD’s pedigree, but not Laine’s. Pop perfection it is and once you pop you can’t stop till it’s over.
“Hold on Tonite” feels like something Def Leppard could have written, but Laine’s voice is smooth and silky, compared to Eliot’s glass and shrieky screaming style.
“Allnighter” is a bit of a letdown – a by the numbers, party-rocker, which boasts more than acts on the promises… it sounds like a bad unfulfilled Motley-no-clue… or the lesser material that Bulletboys would do after a while, but with a much better solo.
“U X’d My Heart” is a friggin great ballad that after the first verse feels a lot like something that Hardline would have killed to have written with both RM and PL shining through with this one!
“It Goes Fast” laments how fast success comes and goes, with its heavy handed blued licks and warm vocal lyricism…
“Stay” channels a bit of Bon Jovi, actually, it sounds like a bit more dramatic BJ, but it’s so good, that Jovi would have wished he had written something this good, since the early 00s.
The same holds true for “Alive” that shifts from half ballad to thumbing soft rocker in the blink of an eye.
“Drink Up!” is a honky bar-roc ‘n’ roller, which has guitar licks instead of horns, but you get,the idea about the overall style…
Last but not least, things go almost “elevator” smooth, for the final song “Forever”… that however is not boring, just very timid and soft, with only Laine deciding to go a little whineier, while he belts out the chorus…
Usually sequels suck, but in this case The Defiants sophomore effort, just perfects what the band presented in their debut and is in every way, shape and form a far better album. A damn good one! Don’t miss it!
by Rockavlon