Act Of Defiance live in London 2018

Act Of Defiance is a metal band, hailing all the way from California. Act Of Defiance follows in the footsteps of fellow American thrash metal bands such as Nevermore, Metal Allegiance and Testament. In 2014 Act Of Defiance rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Megadeth, after guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover quit the band. Although they’ve only been performing since 2015, they’ve already cemented their place in the halls of metal. I was excited to witness Act Of Defiance’s first ever European tour, celebrating their newly released album “Old Scars, New Wounds”. Their epic follow up album to their 2015 hit “Birth and the Burial”.
Act Of Defiance UK Tour 2018 poster

This was one definitely one of my favourite gig reviews to date, growing up listening to his music in Megadeth, I have always admired and been insanely jealous of his legendary guitar skills. Being able to meet and actually talk to him, on top of finally seeing his guitar work close-up was an incredible experience I won’t forget, and one of my best birthday presents! You always worry that famous musicians from world renown supergroups would be, justifiably, arrogant. But he was open and friendly, it was just like chatting to a mate down the pub. They say don’t meet your heroes, but I was not disappointed. And you could tell by crowd’s reaction, that they were all as excited as me to see them play their first gig of their first ever European tour! The dance floor was packed despite the heat and humidity. And when he stepped out onto that stage, there were shouts and cries, and many fists raised into the air, reaching desperately up toward them.
One of the most unique and captivating elements to their songs, is the constantly varying pitch and tone, keeping the listener on their toes. The mix of high powered, high energy thrash metal contrasts, yet also compliments, the slow and melodic elements. There are elements of slow and dramatic power ballads mixed in with the heavy and fast paced instrumentals. This mix of genres spreads throughout their new album, “The Talisman” gives the it a new twist, bringing in different tempos and themes.
Although Broderick initially planned to cut down on his guitar solos, I personally am very glad he didn’t, as he has been one of my favourite guitarist, since I heard him in Megadeath. His shredding guitar riffs have always won him fans, but for their new album he has really stepped up his game. Adding in new techniques and perfecting the execution, marking them a real highlight of the album. His electric fast guitar riffs are only topped by the powerful vocals, combining elements from old school screamo and clear high pitch lyrics.
For one of the final songs, they invited a couple of guest stars to join them. Broderick introduced the guitar prodigy as “the guy that will put my skills to shame!” and, ex-Scar The Martyr, singer Henry Derek was accompanied on vocals by a talented lass, who was the perfect alt girl. It was a great twist in the show and the injection of new blood lit up the performance. Their obvious passion for the music, dripping in talent and excitement to be playing with some genuine metal heroes.
One of the reasons I personally love this band, and a route cause of their musical talent, is the history and individual style each band member brings with him. Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover cultivated their skills playing in Megadeth, and bring forth elements of their style. Henry showcases his vocalist talents by cleverly switching between different styles of singing, with a hints of Scandinavian influence. Henry is also from two of my favourite bands; Scar The Martyr and Thrown Into Exile. Last but not least, bassist Matt from Shadows Fall. Creating an album, dripping with passion and talent, that will keep you coming back for more. It’s no easy feat combining so many different elements and genres of metal, but somehow they make it look effortless.
There was just the one warm up act this time, but they were such sound performers they didn’t need anyone else! Prolapse, from our very own South East London, brought their fiery passion and sense of humour to the stage. They really played to the crowd and interacted with them. After a long week of work, I think we needed that injection of energy to shake us awake. Their infectious electric energy spread through the crowd, and had everyone jumping and head banging along. A mosh pit even formed around one of the pillars! Broderick even came out on stage early to play a song with them, transitioning between the bands and his guitar solo was the perfect introduction for the fans thirsty for his epic riffs. Luckily got a chance to chat to them back stage before the show, and can report they’re completely stand up guys! Not only are they talented musicians, they also brought a comedic element, which was a refreshing change of pace. Even using some joke props to illustrate some of their more, shall we say... unconventional song lyrics. I won’t give too many spoilers, as I would definitely recommend you catch one of their gigs!
Well, what can I say, it was an epic night all round. From meeting and interviewing Broderick, a living metal icon, to seeing his legendary guitar skills in action. The whole night was filled with laughter and headbanging of course. A night I will never forget and the perfect opening gig of their first ever European tour! I admire their conviction to stand by their personal music tastes, and to produce the music as it comes naturally to them, without the pretence to be someone they’re not, or imitate another band, for popularity alone. This results in a unique sound, taking inspiration from different genres and styles, accumulating in a crashing new breed of heavy metal, set to push the boundaries of thrash metal and prog metal!