I get that it’s difficult to come up with a great band name. If you want to be recognizable and easy to find, it has to be original and easy to remember. You don’t want a name that results in 27 hits on the Metal Archives, but you don’t want a name no one can spell either (looking at you, Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation!) or word of mouth will never happen. And lastly, you don’t want the name to sound fucking stupid, and this is where Defecto trips up. I don’t know whether this superhero has the power to break equipment just after the warranty expires or simply changes allegiances super quickly, but I went in with tenuous hope that the band would be better than the band name.
Well, they are, but that’s more because of their name than their music. Defecto play a mixture of power metal and mainstream metalcore, citing influences like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold and Symphony X. It’s a sound aiming for stadiums and main stages at major festivals; accessible, catchy and big in a Broadway sense. While that is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself (after all, A7X‘s The Stage was among my own TYMHM last year,) the songs feel more engineered than organically written, like there was a mandate to incorporate x elements from popular metal bands. That artificiality may be imaginary, but the cloying feeling persists nonetheless.
The execution is not the problem. Frontman Nicklas Sonne (Evil Masquerade) has a big voice akin to Russell Allen, while his scraped style of belting warrants comparison to M. Shadows. He even has a decent growl, employed sporadically across the album but fairly prominent on the two final tracks. The guitar solos are technically excellent, only a minor step below the likes of Synyster Gates, and they compensate for the lackluster songwriting with wild panache. And although the catchy nature of the songwriting and the familiar core-like guitar sound indicate an overeager commercial spirit, it cannot be denied that the songs stuck to the grey matter like stubborn leeches.
But Nemesis seems to be unable to put out a positive without a balancing negative. The title track has an epic, catchy chorus, but can’t help but to undermine it with an overly edgy and utterly unconvincing bridge. “Endlessly Falling” is by and large prog-power metal goodness, but it proceeds “Savage,” where Nicklas proclaims to be a ‘deadly, crazy lunatic’ in a way that wouldn’t convince a 14 year old Godsmack fan. “Ode to the Damned” is hyper melodic yet not without merit, but power ballad “The Sacrificed” is nauseatingly pleading. “We’re All the Enemy” blasts off with promising thrashy melodic death metal but winds up forgettable, and closer “Ascend to Heaven” has a decently pounding back half but takes its time getting there through a minefield of sickly sweet cheese.
Couple these shortcomings with a loud production that buries the bass and the drums while brushing up against clipping hell, and you wind up with an album that simply does not sound sincere and self-assured. While sincerity is a difficult virtue to pinpoint, Defecto wear their aspirations too proudly on their sleeve to feel honest and organic. The paint-by-popular-numbers nature of the tracks undermines the natural flow and the frequent insertions of tired tropes blocks the enjoyment of their talented performances. Perhaps this is what Defecto feel is the best music they could possibly make, but a tighter focus and braver approach would have made Nemesis a lot more interesting.