Danger Danger came a little late in the hair metal game. By the time their self-titled debut came out in 1989, Guns N’ Roses had already changed the way hard rock music was to be played. Then of course not long after that came grunge. Hardly a time for bands like them or Trixter to come into a dying market. How Firehouse managed to survive three albums in, can only be credited to luck and good publicity. Anyway, the shame of the matter is that Danger Danger‘s debut album, while not really consisting of stuff that could change the face of music, does have a selection of some of the finest pop metal songs I can think of. You may be wondering why I’m bringing any of these bands up right at the beginning of a review for an album by none of these artists. The reason would be because The Defiants, who recently released their own self-titled debut, are made up of three members who still do or have played for Danger Danger.
Founding Danger Danger bassist Bruno Ravel, along with long-time guitarist Rob Marcello and one-time vocalist (and a fellow Canadian) Paul Laine as well as journeyman drummer Van Romaine bring back some old hair metal memories with a hint of modern taste in their completely new original album. The Defiants show that just like in any hard rock subgenre, the veterans do it best. The new unknown bands that attempt sounding like an 80’s hair metal band typically miss the point. They typically only end up sounding over poppy and a little too bland. Even some veterans of 80’s hard rock just lost their mark and no longer release music that I’d consider to have any sort of quality to it. The members of The Defiants, however, manage to do mostly everything right.
Just to get the few negative words I have to say aside, there are a few tracks from The Defiants that I find a just a bit bland. The most cliché sounding song would definitely have to be “Lil’ Miss Rock N Roll” with its very simplistic rhythm and melody. The nostalgic yet stereotypical lyrics mention such rock classics as “Jack & Diane” and “Video Killed The Radio Star” as well as a clever nod to Danger Danger‘s most well-known track “Naughty Naughty.” Aside from this song, I can’t help but find magic in much of the rest of The Defiants. There are other tracks I find less than great, but I’d rather not put them down as they are still beyond exceptional tracks by a band who clearly knows what they are doing.
“Love And Bullets,” the first track (not counting the minute long introductory track) on The Defiants has an excellent night time sound to it, like a song you’d hear in an 80’s movie that takes place on the city streets at night. “When The Lights Go Down”, “Last Kiss” and “We All Fall” also provide some great (and maybe somewhat cheesy) moments that reminisce of when hard rock was typically this melodic. “Take Me Back” and closing track “Under The Stars” have a sound to them that brings late 90’s pop punk bands to mind. Especially the latter of the two tracks. It could be because I was an impressionable kid in the height of the brief period where Sugar Ray and Lit made rock music a little less depressing, but I particularly like the sound of these songs and I love how they take the focus a little off of the 80’s.
I’d have expected a band like The Defiants to feature a ballad on their album. I also wouldn’t have been surprised if there was more than one. The Defiants does, in fact, include two ballads. The first of these ballads, “Save Me Tonight” is the one I consider to be the finest with its terrific melody and instrumentation. “That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You” is another fine ballad, as I’d have anticipated, but as good as the music is, I can’t help but find the lyrics surprisingly original and well thought out. Specifically in the chorus.
Much like Danger Danger‘s debut album, The Defiants‘ own self-titled debut album isn’t groundbreaking or original, but it is filled with some of the finest melodic hard rock songs I’ve ever heard. Especially when comparing them to the few melodic rock bands of today, but I think if this album were released in the 80’s, which for the most part it sounds like it could have been, it would have turned heads and gained the band a following like the ones some of the better hair metal acts like Warrant or Cinderella had.
“Love And Bullets” – In an album filled with so many memorable moments, picking a highlight is almost arbitrary, but I’d like to spotlight this track as I feel first time listeners would be driven to listen to more of The Defiants from this song more than any other.
8 (Out of 10)
|2||Love and Bullets||4:29|
|3||When the Lights Go Down||5:10|
|4||Waiting on a Heartbreak||5:28|
|6||Lil’ Miss Rock’n’roll||5:43|
|8||Save Me Tonight||5:53|
|9||Take Me Back||4:38|
|10||We All Fall Down||5:11|
|11||That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You||6:53|
|12||Underneath the Stars||5:15|