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'Reborn In Defiance'
(Nuclear Blast)

Pippa Lang

pippa lang

biohazard reborn in defiance

"Hardcore? Porn? Hardcore... Porn? Oh what to do?" Poor Evan Seinfeld. What a dilemma. To stay with Biohazard after recording 'Reborn In Defiance' or leave to indulge in a different kinda hardcore? Obviously, slapping his unruly member round the head as it screamed "me, me, meee!" didn't work, as Little Evan has won the debate. Seinfeld has, indeed, left to forge ahead with more hedonistic pursuits. Shame.

How can you not tour an album of this calibre, an album you've just spent months recording, submerging yourself in the 'zone' with your original Biohazard buddies (Graziadei, Hambel and Schuler) for the first time in eighteen years? A bit like saying "I didn't enjoy that at all." Anyway, Scott Roberts, much respected within the band (he played on 'Means To An End', but has contributed in pretty much every area of the band over the years), will fill Evan's shoes for the upcoming tour.

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Still ranting magnificently about life on their ninth studio album, but being careful not to be misconstrued, as they were in the early nineties (how can you accuse a band comprising two Jewish blokes of racism?), these days they're keeping any diatribes as straightforward as possible.

Sprinting out of the blocks with the pounding 'Vengeance Is Mine' and bellowing "you think you know me - fuck yeah!", it sounds like they're trying to save the world, 'Team America' stylee (oh no), but there's obviously something more meaningful going on here, some axe to grind. 'Skullcrusher', meanwhile, does exactly what it says on the tin, bludgeoning heads with thunderous, bleeding riffs. Submit, you bastards!

But 'Reborn In Defiance' is not all about rampant hardcore; it has so many layers, it'll take weeks to peel them all back. The overall brooding intent pays tribute to Biohazard's continuing, unstoppable evolution. The deep production courtesy Alice In Chains/Metallica/Korn producer Toby Wright has done Biohazard justice, creating a dark, syrupy texture fronted by a crunchy, industrial vocal mix.

The overall effect with total absorption? Some kinda sonic amphetamine… I don't mean because of the superficial battering-ram effect, but because the quality, skill, creativity and production creates an undeniably euphoric buzz. Bit like a Mustang on heat.

So, with Wright onboard, it's hardly surprising there are a few Alice In Chains-esque harmonies littering the album, particularly on 'Vows Of Redemption' and 'Waste Away'. Or that 'Decay''s chomping riff complements a menacing, Ministry vocal stylee embedded in radio chatter.

'Vows of Redemption''s meaty slide guitar (could be bass – either that or guitar with a deep bass effect) recalls the theme to 'True Blood', but much much heavier. An insidious, sleazy Cajun ambience, this would've made an interesting, alternative soundtrack to 'Deliverance' too (better than 'Duelling Banjos'), even when the AIC harmonies break into trademark hardcore rapping.

Such awesome dynamics seldom heard anywhere (even a little piano to top and tale), and what you have is some kinda nameless, unknown beast lurking in the bowels of Biohazard's fathomless swamp.

'You Were Wrong' and 'Season The Sky' surprise even further with yet another demonstration of Biohazard's infinite perspectives. The former epic encounter with their more contemplative side mooches about in those depths with its resigned but emphatic "I don't care...", the Arabic-flavoured guitar squirming about in the middle-eight; whilst the instrumental 'Season The Sky' delivers the album's gentle end-game with elegant, singing guitar tones.

Phenomenal. Ground-breaking, even. Oh Evan, what have you done..?



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