Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Defyance-Amaranthine (2014 Re-Release)

Minotauro Records

For Defyance, whose "Voices Within" had been released in 1992 (, it would prove to to be quite the journey to get to the full-length "Amaranthine". Essentially their debut-album, what with the originally version of "Voices Within" being a mere five tracks and (more or less) a demo recording, "Amaranthine" was a l-o-n-g four years in the making! Between financial issues (the band recorded the songs on "Amaranthine" one at a time as funding became available!), line-up problems (then vocalist Brian Harrington had joined the military and the bass position on album number one was filled out by three separate players-(original) bassist John Parrish, Brent Wagner and Rodey Stanton!) and the issue of consistency (this album was after all recorder over the course of four years!!!!) one would be justified in assuming that such an undertaking would be nothing short of a royal mess! Despite these various problems and the patch-work way in which "Amaranthine" was laid to tape the debut full-length from this Knoxville, Iowa act, which also saw the addition of keyboard elements thanks to the contribution of Matt Bell, is remarkable solid and downright enjoyable! Between those four years the band's style took on a much-improved melodic essence and the band's progressive-leanings were starting to become much more noticeable. Lyric-wise the new approach seemed to favor spirituality and the inclusion of "Invention #4 In D Minor" (J.S. Bach) really showed off the overall excellent musicianship that this U.S. metal band was capable of! Opening up things is the superb "Without Your Love" and with the strength of not only ballads like "Coming Home" and "Where Are You Now", but more metal numbers like "Seize The Day", "Freedom Forever" and "Running Free" it's hard not to get caught up in a release like "Amaranthine". This 2014 re-release does Defyance justice as this (original self-release!) album is presented in fine form and (whether the sound has been touched up or not I cannot honestly recall as it has been some time since I first heard the original tracks!) everything sounds as mint and fresh as if it just came rolling out of the studio! While the band's next album, 1999's "Time Lost", is the one that I always identified Deyance most for there' no denying the staying power and respectably of "Amaranthine"! You can find this re-release as well as the group's other two ("Voices Within" and "Time Lost") over at Minotauro Records main web page where they are each reasonably priced as individual units or as part of a special three pack deal!!cds/cnec

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