Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Defy Your Dreams
Symphonies Of The Unknown
Written by: MAK on 23/02/2016 11:29:55
Over the last year there has been a significant rise in melodic hardcore bands, following a wave of over-saturation in the genre in a similar way that pop-punk has over the same period. They are the “in” genres at the moment and bands are riding the popularity of these genres like they are quickest bus to becoming well known in the alternative music scenes. What this creates is a lot of generic music being produced in those scenes, too many bands sound like other bands and it all gets regurgitated, overused, and rather boring after a while. German lads Defy Your Dreams, however, while they fit into this melodic hardcore scene rather perfectly, are not generic when it comes to what we usually expect the genre.
The Bremen quintet have recently released their first full-length album, "Symphonies Of The Unknown" as a follow-up to their debut EP “Curtains”, released back in 2013. In that time Defy Your Dreams have had a bit of a switch around in vocal duties and style of sound. Benjamin Stelter steps in to help the Germans trade in their all-out metallic hardcore sound, which was mostly full of deep chugs, breakdowns, and low pitched roars, for something more anthemic and melodic
Initially, what I noticed about Defy Your Dreams is that they have a fairly unique sound for modern melodic hardcore, but a lot of that comes from the way they throw in a strong influence of post-hardcore. Then, the further I dissected it, there are elements of metalcore and metallic hardcore (yes there is a difference). We hear the usual breakdowns throughout and the ear-pricking softer guitar melodies that are in the forefront for intros, then linger in the background for the verses and choruses. The drums are energetic and pulled off with the expected metalcore techniques, lots of double pedal and full kit rolls that always seem to impress.
All of this works incredibly well though a lot of these elements I have definitely heard elsewhere. The cleans are incredibly similar to Silverstein’s Shane Told in most of the songs, and the chorus for “Pos(I)Tive” shows it strongly. Though during the same song there is a vocal melody in the bridge, the words “I made a promise to myself” are sung in a way that reflects the vocal melody to the chorus in the A Day To Remember song “A Shot In The Dark”. Also the “We say we say we say” chant in “Valve Nights” is exactly the same as the “You said you said you said” chorus to Comeback Kid’s “Wake The Dead”.
On the other hand, some harsh vocals remind me of Crossfaith’s Koie Kenta; especially in “No Luck For Mirrors Shards”. Not only do the harsh shouts sound close to Crossfaith, but so do the riffs, the rhythms and the tone are strongly reminiscent of the Japanese metalcore act. Title-track, “Symphonies Of The Unknown” sounds like the perfect crossover between Crossfaith and Silverstein; the metalcore/melodic hardcore verse with angry vocals atmospheric guitar work that leads on to dominant heavy riffs, then the anthemic sing-y post-hardcore chorus that gets more hooking the more you listen to it. Without a doubt, it is the most captivating song on the album.
I like that while this is a new band, there is sense of nostalgia within their music, like they are reminding me of these other bands that I once loved, and still do on occasion. What is most impressive is that it still sounds fresh compared to the current scene these songs would fit in; even though they would have flourished strongly ten years ago. What is certainly clear, after hearing the “Curtains” EP, is that this album is a vast improvement, and new vocalist Benjamin Stelter is an incredible addition to Defy Your Dreams. The change the band have made from a generic sound to something that suits slightly wider audiences in alternative music should help them get more notice in the long run.
Download: Symphonies Of The Unknown, Pos(I)Tive, No Luck For Mirrors Shards
For The Fans Of: Crossfaith, Silverstein, early-While She Sleeps
Release date 02.02.2016