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The Chilean metal force known as Critical Defiance has something for every thrash fan out there. Not in the sense of being homogenized and generic, but in their alchemical and nearly magical melding of blitzkrieg tempos, dizzying technicality, aggressive shouts and gang vocals, and—rarest of all for a post-1990 thrash act—a healthy dose of actual, memorable melody. Now about to drop their third full-length The Search Won’t Fall... like a bomb from a warplane, they have added a new element to the mix: just a taste of the eerie melancholy and harsh melodrama of black metal.
Their release schedule has been nearly as fast as their music, with the debut (Misconception) coming in 2019, and its follow-up (No Life Forms) in 2022. They have let even less time elapse from then until this new platter’s arrival, taking line-up changes in stride and pushing forward relentlessly regardless. The addition of Mauricio Toledo on guitar (just prior to their previous album) has pushed their music in new directions. That black metal aspect—some tremelo riffing, some blastbeats, bits of a distinctly new melodic sensibility—lends the album an updated feeling that sets it apart from its predecessors, while by no means abandoning the thrash foundation that has served them so well. All of this ambition is well-served by a terrific production job that balances just the right amount of rawness and polish. Three albums in, Critical Defiance are poised to deliver their most ferocious work yet. Angry yet uplifting, full of the spirit of true metal both old and new, it’s a record that only these guys could make.