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By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 @ 2:25 PM

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The Defiants

Frontiers Records

Review By Robbie Kramer

Bruno Ravel wears many hats. On stage, a black cowboy hat is usually the lid of choice. Off stage is where things become a little more hectic. The task of juggling back and forth from Bassist, Songwriter, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, and Father, can be a daunting task for anyone. Somehow Bruno seems to pull it off, and pull it off well.

THE DEFIANTS are a musical endeavor between current and former members of the band DANGER DANGER that is anchored and produced by Ravel in conjunction with vocalist Paul Laine and guitarist Rob Marcello. Fans of DANGER DANGER will love this record and have likely already gravitated to them because of their previous association with the band.

The songs are well crafted, superbly produced, and are just down right great songs. The “feel” of the album brings back memories of the days when songs weren’t meant to be negative and were intended to make you feel good. In my opinion, much of the music released today puts you in a worse mood after listening than you had been before you started. As for me, I have always used music as a release, as an escape. In life you get bombarded with so much negativity that it's nice to hear a record that speaks to your current mood with no hidden agenda, no subtle messages; just perfect, sing-along melodies and smooth guitar licks. This record will make you want to pull that air guitar out of the closet, dust it off, and jam right along with the boys.

I have been a fan of DANGER DANGER since the first record was released in 1989 and will be the first to admit that I didn’t give the albums that featured Paul Laine on vocals a fair listen; but I will also be the first to say that after hearing his work on this record, I definitely owe it to myself and to him to see this band live, given the opportunity.

I’ve had this CD playing in my car for a couple of weeks now and my choice of favorite track changes daily. The one element that separates the men from the boys has always been songwriting. You can dress a few guys up, put them in cool poses, and polish the product until it's perfect, but if the songs aren’t good, it's all for nothing. You can fool some of the fans for a little while, but the true fans can always tell where the good stuff is. THE DEFIANTS' debut album is full of the good stuff. The one constant catalyist between DANGER DANGER and THE DEFIANTS is Bruno Ravel. His songwriting has always been the cornerstone of both projects. The added collaboration with Laine on this album has created one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time.

The album starts out with an instrumental track called “Carillon’s Theme” that amps up the anticipation as to what is yet to come. If you close your eyes, which I wouldn’t recommend in the car, you can almost feel like you are at a concert and are hearing the intro track awaiting the band to hit the stage. The opening song, “Love And Bullets” adds to that with a vocal intro from Laine. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “When The Lights Go Down”. The groove is raw and the melodies stand out right away. Fans of LYNCH MOB will love this tune as it’s reminiscent of the tone of their first album. The bridge section at 3:30 in the song showcases Laine’s vocal range and always seems to invoke a devil horns from me wherever I may be. “Waiting On A Heartbreak” is next with an awesome vocal hook that is missing from so much of music today. I just can’t seem to stay in a bad mood when I hear these songs.

Other stand-outs are the up-tempo “The Last Kiss”, “Save Me Tonight”, “We All Fall Down”, and my personal favorite, “That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You”. This song has a slight tinge of the band RIVERDOGS in that the vocal style used on this song by Laine reminds me of the highly underrated Rob Lamothe. Usually, when I listen to a new CD there will be a few songs that are okay but just don’t measure up to the rest, but that is not the case with this album. This is a great listen from beginning to end. If you are starving for a good, melodic, solid rock record, this album is definitely for you.

Another aspect of this project that doesn’t get mentioned often or realized by the general listening audience is that it was entirely written, recorded and produced in different parts of the world. Gone are the days of taking over a studio for a month and trying to cram every creative aspect into one time block. Modern technology has given musicians the opportunity to harvest those musical ideas as they happen, organically, and with more emotion more than ever before. The ability to stay close to home, while wearing the aforementioned other hats, and still be able to produce and release a part of you would have to be a gift. The logistics of getting everyone together for writing, rehearsing and recording are as easy as a Skype session. The vocal parts were recorded in one location, the guitars in another, and the drums were tracked by studio and touring veteran Van Romaine. The remaining parts were recorded and produced in New Jersey. Eventually everything was brought together to create an amazing record. From various pieces of bands and projects comes the work of THE DEFIANTS. This is work well done and as for Mr. Ravel and the boys… my hat is off to you.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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