During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s there was an extensive supply of hard rock bands better known as post grunge. Since that time, the hard rock genre has taken a few twists and turns and hence we are now in 2013 where the cookie cutter rock band is a dime a dozen. Phoenix, AZ band Defy Tolerance are not one of those cookie cutter bands. Formed in 2011; the band consists of Freddy Kilo (lead vocals, guitars), Brian Miller (guitars, vocals), Donny Rosko (bass, vocals), and Garin Wolfe (drums). Moving quickly the band recorded their debut album Stop The Bleeding in 2012 and released it in 2013.
The first thing that comes to mind when listening to Stop The Bleeding is the fact the music is so refined, that of a band which is already on their 2nd or 3rd full length record. The opening track has a crunching guitar sound similar to that of Godsmack. Freddy Kilo’s vocal style is clean, powerful, and real. The words are sung with honest emotion that automatically grabs you. “Suffocate” takes us back to early 2000’s style of hard rock with a killer rhythm section. The mix of guitars and bass is perfect and tight. Garin Wolfe provides some hard hitting drum work with plenty of ear candy. Showing diversity in sound, “Live for Today” is a dark moody track. Kilo tones down his voice for this sober track musically and lyrically. The track tackles real life issues of finding the right balance in life. Picking things right back up, the next track “Get You Nowhere” sounds like something you have heard 100 times before over the past decade but you haven’t. The reason it sounds this way is because it’s an insane hard rock hit, not because it sounds like everything else. Combining energy, catchy chorus line, and solid rhythm the track should be heard on various hard rock formats, and it is just a matter of time before it’s a hit. “Empty Bottle” shows some heavy grooving guitar riffs and a spectacular vocal performance by Kilo. Lyrically, it grabs your attention right away with the idea of losing someone close to you to an alcohol addiction.
It’s usually around this point in a debut record the song quality seems to go south but Defy Tolerance is not a victim of this. “Zombified” is a dark and melodic track. Heavily influenced by Alice in Chains, the atmosphere is plentiful with dark undertone. It isn’t until around 2:30 into the track where you are really in for a treat with a beautiful vocal harmony very reminiscent of the late great Layne Staley.
With the album coming to a close, “Until I’m Done” is perhaps the hardest hitting track on the album musically and lyrically. With a powerful guitar solo played with soul and passion, the track resonates loudly. Their final offering is “No Complaints”. It is in this track you hear a different side of Defy Tolerance. With acoustic guitars, strategically placed guitar solos, and insightful lyrics it closes things out nicely.
Stop The Bleeding is a hard rock album which stands out above the saturated scene. One way to describe the record is an easy listen. The band keeps things simple and to the point but yet hard hitting and filled with depth. With a nice blend of emotions this is quite an impressive debut. Cryptic Rock give this album 4 out of 5 stars.