Review by Daniel for Critical Defiance - The Search Won't Fall... (2024) Review by Daniel for Critical Defiance - The Search Won't Fall... (2024)

Daniel Daniel / April 07, 2024 / 1

Chilean thrash metallers Critical Defiance & I have enjoyed a very fruitful relationship over the last five years. In a scene that has largely maintained itself purely off the back of its distant heritage, these South Americans have managed to release a couple of records that have proven to been worthy of my interest in their own right, particularly 2022's "No Life Forms" sophomore album which I consider to be fairly essential for fans of the modern-day Chilean thrash scene. So, I think it's fair to say that I had high hopes for the brand new follow-up album "The Search Won't Fall..." which has predictably been receiving a fair amount of praise from the underground thus far. It hasn't disappointed either with Critical Defiance delivering yet another solid piece of thrash metal designed specifically for an audience that have been starved of high-quality material in recent times.

The production job that "The Search Won't Fall..." is built on is pretty decent but is perhaps a little too heavy on the mid-range frequencies & I think the album could have done with a little more highs as a result. The musicianship is top notch though with the five instrumentalists all proving themselves to be highly proficient in their chosen crafts. As with "No Life Forms", we once again see the unusual inclusion of a third guitarist, a differentiator that the band make good use of but probably won't be picked up by the band's less informed listeners. I really enjoy the shredding Slayer-esque guitar solos which are generally well timed with former Demoniac shredder Nicolás Young being a welcome addition to the band. The song structures feature a crap-tonne of changes too although I struggle to see any justification for the tech thrash claims that seem to be associated with the album as I honestly can't hear anything particularly technical here. Front man Felipe Alvarado's aggressive vocals are well-suited to this style of music but its drummer Rodrigo Poblete (also formerly of Demoniac) that's the clear highlight of the album with his powerful, precise & exciting contribution clearly indicating the role that Slayer's Dave Lombardo has played a clear role in his musical up-bringing.

Stylistically, there's a bit more to Critical Defiance than your run-of-the-mill 80's-worshipping thrash outfit these days. They tend to mix things up a bit by throwing in some well executed curve balls & also varying their track lengths & song structures fairly drastically. You'll no doubt notice that there are a few longer & more expansive pieces included than we found on "No Life Forms" with some progressive options having been explored. There are a couple of tracks that showcase a clear black metal component too (particularly the outstanding "Full Paranoia") while "Long Distance (The What's to Come)" & "Absolüt" are built as much on speed metal as they are on thrash. You can also expect to receive a classical guitar piece ("The Blind Divine"), a progressive rock instrumental ("Margarita") & a full-throttle grindcore number ("All The Powers") so you can hardly claim "The Search Won't Fall..." to be samey. There aren't any weak inclusions either so it's a very consistent affair from a highly competent & experienced artist.

"The Search Won't Fall..." really does pick up where "No Life Forms" left off. It's another very solid Critical Deception release that will likely come into consideration for my end of year list & will no doubt be receiving return visits from me in the future too. I'd suggest ignoring the tech thrash claims & going into the record expecting more of a Kreator/Vio-lence brand of aggressive thrash only with a slightly more adventurous edge that sees them drawing upon a more diverse array of artists such as Hellripper & early Emperor for inspiration at times.

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