Last summer A New Definition ripped the roof off of Columbia Street West, walking away with the coveted top prize in the whatzup Battle of the Bands VI. Part of that prize included studio time ,and at long last – after hours and days and weeks of blood, sweat, and tears – the band is ready to unleash Relentless, their debut album containing 10 songs certain to leave you black and blue.
Things start off all classy-like with light strings, dramatic piano and the sounds of distant thunder. An acoustic guitar pattern begins, followed by a cymbal roll, and when the entire band jumps in with a heavy guitar riff you realize it is useless for you to try to resist. The lyrics on “Forgotten Prophecy Pt. 1” mention brave knights and queens, evoking a bit of Dio, but essentially becomes a song about fighting for your rights and not laying down your life. As exciting as that song is, A New Definition up the ante with “Incinerate” featuring a double lead guitar riff, gruff vocals singing about burning your bridges and a finale of dueling guitars from Matt Wermert and Brian Shaffer, leaving no doubt that these guys can play metal! The double-kick drums on “Swollen,” compliments of Andy Dobmeyer, pack a mighty punch, combining the best of their influences by mixing Metallica vocals with Black Label Society riffs and a melodic Slash guitar solo. “Buried Inside” is another killer metal song with shades of Metallica, this time opening up a bit to allow a spongy bass passage where Jedpac (vocalist Jed Francis) gets to strut his stuff. The adrenaline-flushed ending where lyrics of “You try running away / ’cause you can see me bleeding” repeat against a massive groove is sure to make your ears bleed in blissful delight.
The album’s only weak moment comes halfway through with “Empty Promise”… sometimes its okay to “just say no to ballads”… but ANDB more than make up for it with “From Nowhere” which features an Iron Maiden riff, machine-gun vocal delivery and drumming so good it will leave you sterile. In “Ascendency” you get a hint of Black Sabbath (no extra charge) as A New Definition take their time in building up an unbearable amount of tension, culminating in a breakdown section and a smokin’ guitar solo that has no option other than eating you whole. The final track, “…And So It Begins”, is edgy and moody at first but soon erupts into full anger mode. At nearly eight minutes, this song gives you your money’s worth with lots of different guitar riffs and tastefully performed tempo changes, ending with the same piano that started the album. Now is when you hit the PLAY button again.
As evident from crowd reactions A New Definition know how to please their fans by performing self-described “catchy, party metal music.” The lyrics cover some far-reaching ground, leaving things a bit open for interpretation, while the music slams your face to the concrete with heavy guitars and thrill-a-minute drumming. If you are a fan of Godsmack, Seether, Metallica or Black Label Society, one listen to Relentless will make you an instant ANDB fan. If you prefer Conway Twitty or Barbra Streisand, well, it might take two or three.
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Marcus King Band
July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion