While the Massachusetts natives Defeater may not be the heaviest band in the hardcore genre, they definitely hold their weight. Defeater leans more on the melodic side of hardcore, but there is a huge difference between this and vocalist’s Derek Archambault’s alt-country side project, Alcoa. Defeater released their fourth album, Abandoned, on Aug. 28 via Epitaph Records.
The speaker of the album is not exactly sure what he believes in and is constantly questioning between the secular and the religious. How could religious entities possibly exist in a spiritual realm while he is committing atrocities in the physical world? However, the speaker knows that something merciful has granted him salvation and attempts to follow religious doctrine.
Regardless of time and place, the speaker is constantly struggling between good and evil. The speaker has moments where he thinks what he is doing is righteous, and there are times when he is testing the authority of god – putting himself in bad situations to see if he will be saved from true danger.
Although Abandoned is told from a single perspective, the speaker’s view of the world is constantly changing, even throughout a single song. “Lord let me down” from Spared in Hell is a good example of this and can even be interpreted different ways. It could either mean that the speaker has been disappointed by the religious figure that it worships, or maybe it is a command from a speaker who ascended to heaven and would like to return. The speaker has a sense of fearlessness, and is willing to tread foot in safety or harm’s way.
“Divination” is one of the best songs on Abandoned. The tempo of the song is slower than the first four tracks, and gives the listener a sense that the speaker might be gaining some patience in comparison to previous tracks. The songs that are shorter in length and faster paced have immediacy about them. The speaker is more urgent to get the message across to the listener.
Throughout the majority of the album, it is uncertain what exactly is bringing about all this suffering and despair that the speaker is going through. In “Divination”, a female entity is mentioned, which could possibly be the cause of the speaker’s existential crisis.
The tracks that the speaker mentions could mean the course in which he travels, or it could be referring to something more sinister – like track marks. Maylene and the Sons of Disaster’s vocalist, Dallas Taylor, comes to mind when Archambault belts out the refrain “I feel the feel of the sand, I feel the feel of the sin.” The bridge after the second refrain is when the song really begins to build momentum. The conclusion of “Divination” proves that the speaker is riding an emotional rollercoaster. In the last verse, the speaker is accusing others of lying and depicting him as a drug addict.
“Borrowed & Blue” is reminiscent of the American rock band Interpol mixed with a hardcore version of the band mewithoutYou. The speaker is almost obsessed with the duality of day and night, mentioning it on more than one track on Abandoned. “Borrowed & Blue” has wonderful imagery and metaphoric references. The speaker is using the ocean as a metaphor for a strong force that is trying to separate him from someone else, but he needs them so badly that he is not willing to let them go. The only negative thing about this song is the cameo by Make Do and Mend’s vocalist, James Carroll, who delivers the metaphor in place of Archambault, thereby diminishing its effect.