Excluded is the full album debut for Danish symphonic metal/rockers Defecto, a band that was founded in the outskirts of Copenhagen and only had one EP under its belt up to now. Led by guitarist and vocalist Nicklas Sonne, Defecto consists of guitarist Frederik Møller, bass player Thomas Bartholin and drummer Lars Jensen.
Although the keyboards are not credited on the album, all the compositions, multi layered and bombastic keyboards and orchestration are key elements for the majority of the songs. Personally my choice to review this album came when I listened to the first song on the album; the title track Excluded. A song that not just caught my ear by the incredible way vocalist Nicklas blends the vocal style of Metallica's James Hetfield with a more melodic progressive sound of Royal Hunt's DC Cooper and the brutal parts of Tommy Giles Rogers of Between The Buried And Me fame. But also struck me with the beauty of the powerful riffs, catchiness overall and good old fashioned guitar solos. So the first right in-your-face composition is one to remember, but it doesn't stop there. We got eleven other strong songs to discover, When Daylight Dies and Drifting Into Blackness have great melodic, catchy melodies and vocal lines, creating a recognizable element for the band. Defecto also presented two power ballads on the album; The Final Transition is a piano driven smooth song led by Nicklas' vocals and has an effective solo, the other one is The Sands Of Time, also the longest track on the album. Here the band has chosen to create a more bombastic epic song, with acoustic guitars and piano and a more furious guitar part that leads to a powerful end of the song. My personal highlight comes with nice distorted guitars, grunts and a strong combination of power and melody; Don't Lose Yourself grabs you by the throat and won't let go, the contradictive guitar solo parts just nail it. Sovereign has a similar kind of attitude and becomes another high scoring composition. As a special bonus Defecto added a live version of the song Rage, whose studio version also is on the album. A cool introduction in Danish leads us to a solid reproduction of the original. Just a few vocal parts, mainly background vocals are not quite convincing, but overall this version gives us a good impression of Defecto's live sound.
Defecto have released an absolute convincingly album that has a mature sound, solid compositions and lots of variation, especially in the vocal department. Technical, but melodic and still capturing a steady groove. I guess Defecto will be a great band to witness live, a tour opening for landsmen Volbeat would be perfect in my opinion.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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