United Defiance – ‘Way It’s Gonna Be’
United Defiance – Concord, California, USA.
Raw Melodic Hardcore from across the pond.
United Defiance, a four-piece hailing from Concord in that great state of Punk-Rock, California. Some of my favourite bands hail from that sunny, healthy place, and it is somewhere I plan on visiting one day. For now however, listening to it’s musical talent will have to suffice.
The band have been playing up and down California, including the legendary venue at 924 Gilman Street. Need I say more on that?
And back in April the band released a five track EP, entitled Product Of Disaster, but now it’s about the latest release! A ten track album released no less than FOUR MONTHS later. Hard working be this four piece.
A quick note, the first EP was FREE and this latest release is cheap as fuck so I suppose I can post all relevant links at the bottom of the page.
I would love to rattle on about the band and their sound, but in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better set of influences listed by a band. Frankly I was a little aroused…
‘Blood For Blood, Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX, Lagwagon, Operation Ivy, No Use For A Name, Green Day, Strung Out, KPF, The Swinging Utters, Gutter Mouth, Iron Maiden, G.B.H., Sum 41, AFI (Answer that and stay fashionable) Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, Rancid, Lars Fredriksen And The Bastards, Social Distortion, Madd Caddies, Good Riddance, Consumed, Downway, Lagwagon, Flogging Molly, The Excuse, S.T.F.U, Black Flag, The Dread, RKL (RIP), The Sick, Time Again, Bigwig, Econo-Christ, Grimple, Filth, Avail, The Evicted, Hatebreed, The Unseen, Eldopa, The Rashomon Effect (R.I.P), Dead Kennedys, Catch 22, Dropkick Murphy’s, United Blood, Face to Face, Trouble Maker. and most importantly our friends and family!’
Speechless. Not only does this include some of my favourite bands within its number, but that of some close friends and countless people met at festivals, gigs and throughout my twenty-three and a half years on this rock.
Here’s MF’s review of Way It’s Gonna Be:
Straight to it with the title track at number one. Fast and solid Melodic-Hardcore right to the face! It grabbed my attention the first time I heard it and still does. The words, ‘Here we go again in united defiance…’ have been stuck in my head the vast majority of the time these days.
And the pace is in no way reduced for ‘Your Name Here’ which is next in the running order. Most memorably about track two is the line that goes something like this; ‘You did what you did and took what you took, and you can’t change the past, the price you paid to get ahead, the price that never lasts’. A lyric to be truly proud of. Feels.
The opening riffage and rhythms of track three, ‘If I Could?’, immediately made me think of Pennywise and Rise Against. And aligning United Defiance with contemporary trailblazers such as those bands is not a negative in the slightest! In fact, I saw both Rise Against and Pennywise in Southampton in the UK back in November, and it was as good as you’d expect. Three, is a fast and SLIGHTLY more melodic track with integrated slower tempos that ironically make it sound more intense.
Track four is by far one of the best on this release. The bass intro flirts with a few seconds of OLD school Social Distortion before flying into fast verse with hints of Hardcore and Punk greats, Gorilla Biscuits and The Adolescents. The track itself has an almost perfect balance between the elements of the post-Bad Religion’s Suffer Punk sound and that of UD’s Hardcore elements. Suffer being an album that, according to Fat Mike of NOFX and many Punks from all walks that I have met, changed everything.
Speaking of which, here’s a rather fun but messy video of the band covering ‘Do What You Want’ by Bad Religion:
More of the fast tempo now and we have track five, ‘Under The Gun’. Another slice of anthemic Melodic-Hardcore that may or may not, give you neck problems if you try and match that drum beat.
The great thing about a good release is that the ‘not so good’ songs are still, well, pretty solid. Six leans that way, lyrically it’s fantastic, it bashes scene elitists and arrogant pricks. Like I said, it’s not a necessarily bad track it just doesn’t quite follow the former onslaughts quite as well.
Fear not however, for we are set right back on track with ‘No Way Out’. A jibe at the ‘Land Of The Free’ concept of the USA, it gets the point across. Thinking outside the box is paramount, we are all “Under The Gun” (cheeky in-album reference there), no matter where we are, and it is ALWAYS to a greater extent than the obvious would suggest.
‘Road Less Travelled’. Stuck? static? Going nowhere? Well this song is for those exact feelings. Fast Punk with refrains and brief guitar-led sections between the full band onslaughts. In short, a good balance of the melodic and the heavy for this track.
To the final two then my friends. ‘Better Off Dead’ takes the tempo down a tad. A tad! It’s by no means a slow song. Fans of Pennywise will get on well with this. Nicely riff-led and a pleasing medium-to-fast pace. Personally, as much as I’ve loved the onslaught thus far, this really works. ‘Better Off Dead’ a song title that has always and always will be found on Punk albums, for good reason. Disaffection.
‘Based on all these problems and how we’re ‘sposed to be, hanging by these numbers – just the dead and family’
Some ‘Closure’ for our closure. Do I detect some shouts towards No Use For A Name in this intro? I believe I do my dear boy! You get the point. The final track plays out in UD’s melodic stamp; strong in vocals and guitar melodies with intermittent chugging on the strings and, of course, accompanied by thunderous drumming. The band’s half-gang vocals work well, both as a full vocal line and behind that of the lead.
There we have it, the first full-length from United Defiance. They have progressed from the last release and show no signs of stopping. Personally, I prefer to see a band progress their sound slowly rather than drastically change. Not only is it safer (ha!), but I think, and I’m probably speaking for many music fans when I say this, but it really helps to add variety to a band, and helps the fans to both relate and immerse. I’m looking forward to the rest of UD’s journey.
As mentioned before, United Defiance’s first EP is FREE from their bandcamp and this album is available from the same source at a very modest price, no matter where you are! Now however it is time for some music: