Biohazard – Reborn In Defiance

In 2008, Biohazard celebrated their 20th anniversary by reuniting with the original members that wrote and recorded the first three albums (self-titled, Urban Discipline, and State of the World Address). They went on tour for a few years, and got together enough material to release a new album, Reborn in Defiance. Not only is it the first album with this line-up in almost 18 years, but it?s the first Biohazard album since 2005?s Means to an End. After languishing for years as a sub-par thrash band, the band revitalizes their career with a record that has everything people love, and loathe, about Biohazard.

Reborn in Defiance is not just some flashy title, but an apt view of where Biohazard is mentality. They sound energized, given new life by bringing guitarist Bobby Hambel back into the fray. The songs that are meant to thrash along wildly do just that, and it?s a thrill to hear the four members loose their minds on the stunning ?Vengeance Is Mine.? If that song isn?t on every live set list from now until they retire, something is wrong. Same goes for the anthemic ?Skullcrusher? and fist-pumper ?Never Give In.?

The band experimented with rap along with the hardcore/thrash riffs for years, and this doesn?t subside on Reborn in Defiance. It does sound dated when used on ?Waste Away? and Countdown Doom,? like the band can?t get over the fact that at one point, rap metal used to be huge. The album gets under control when the hardcore and thrash are the main proponents, and they mesh as well as they did two decades ago. ?Reborn? is the main deterrent from that viewpoint, mainly because of a strange break near the end that sounds like a hackneyed cut-and-paste job in the studio.

Never afraid to break from tradition, Biohazard gets the best material out of themselves when in an atmospheric state of mind. The piano intro and outro to ?Vows Of Redemption? ties the song together, and the calmer guitar work proves influential in the song?s success. ?You Were Wrong? goes past six minutes to give the vocal harmonies of bassist Evan Seinfeld and guitarist Billy Graziadei a chance to explore clean tones, while having an effective build-up throughout. The biggest surprise is how well the band pulls off the closing instrumental ?Season The Sky,? which is heavy on the keyboards and lead guitar.

With Seinfeld departing from Biohazard right after the album was recorded, that makes Reborn in Defiance even more significant. This album was made with the fans clearly in mind, as modern listeners will find the rap metal sections to be ?so 1999.? Songs like ?Season The Sky? make an admirable reach away from the conventional, though more often than not, the band is stuck in a time warp. However, Reborn in Defiance is the spiritual successor to State of the World Address, and fits right in as the obvious next chapter for Biohazard.

Rating: 6.5/10

Label: Nuclear Blast Records (UK)

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By Dan Marsicano

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