Desdinova: Defying Gravity

Well, this was...a bummer...a bummer's bummer.  We've had a lot of bands over the years here telling us what their image is all about, what it all means to them.  Often it's pretty accurate, in spite of the staleness of the tunes to be found.  Desdinova is pretty clear they're a thrash band from their promo sheet, but their image appears to be, at least in theory, tied-in to things of which we in the underground never speak.  Most thrash, we know what it does, we've seen the skeletons, the goatee beards, we've heard the chugging and the singing about politics rife with failed love involving cherries or something.  These guys try to give a different kind of presence.  On their Facebook page, they even consider themselves "sci-fi metal," and as you can see from the cover, it's unlike the typical thrash album; in fact, nothing about it looks thrash at all.  But, according to them, topics covered in this album are "science fiction, television series [sic], and fantasy literature."  Not so keen on the last bit there, it's been done to Hell and back, but the first, definitely not enough, or at least not right.  That has the potential to be incredibly awesome.  This particular reviewer is very familiar with sci-fi, having a huge paperback collection stretching back to the 1940s, having read all of the greats, as well as writers you've never heard of.  So, this kind of idea is ripe, it's ready to pop, it's ready to seed, but unfortunately in Defying Gravity it's barely ready to pre, in fact it's not really clear what's there, if anything.  And it's doubtful, after listening to it, that these guys are true sci-fi fanatics.

  

Desdinova play essentially an older version of thrash of the more popular air guitar variety, with a bit of that "progressive" they're claiming, and sadly very little of the sci-fi we were kind of hoping for.  We've heard Wendy Carlos' early work, stuff like that, so we kind of expected a good accumulation of sounds that at least suggested such things.  The sci-fi elements, or whatever references they want to claim, are highly superficial, barely the top of the surface of the really good stuff.  Better to say derivative at best, as we seem to have references in these lyrics to the series Firefly and the subsequent movie Serenity, as well as perhaps Day Z (ugh) and (sigh) the Subspecies series...  So really, that's what it's like musically.  It's like watching all three of those at the same time.  One is essentially genius, one is god awful, and one is B-material you watch for a good laugh.  Mix it all together, and Defying Gravity becomes your love-spawn outcome.  Now, on the good side, Desdinova are pretty solid with their playing; the chording's clear, the solos are easy to follow, the drumming isn't entirely simplistic, and the vocals have good carry.  So it's not like they don't know how to write music...

They just don't know how to write good music, and certainly nothing close to what we'd call "sci-fi metal."  It's not just concept, friends, it's essence as well.  And the essence of  Defying Gravity is that it sounds like Metallica, with a drummer.  The chords are antiquated, generally, the majority of the speed runs you've heard before, the singing style is practically everything Anthrax and Sodom did over the past thirty years, and, and, well that's about it.  The usage of an entirely new type of image is entirely lost here, and barely scratches the surface of its potential.  Just look at the cover, it's just some spacemen, one standing on some planet that's been Photoshopped, with a stick of some sort, somethingrather, doing kind of much of nothing, which is essentially what this album does.  Very little is memorable here, it comes and goes as fast as human experience in space, and got about as far.  The selection of song material lacks substance and connection, there's no real thought put into it, simply "I liked this movie, I liked this show, I liked this book, let's make a song out of it." As far as thrash goes these guys sound as old as it gets.  It's a good kind of old, but it's not an interesting kind of old.  There's plenty of retro thrash right now, like Blessed Curse, doing much more than these guys, and with a more interesting image.

Desdinova Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Desdinova: Defying Gravity
Green Valley Records
3 / 5