Review: Deraign – Purity In Violence

Deraign is a thrash metal band from the Gold Cost, Queensland, and consists of front man and bassist Dan Vine, guitarists Steve Lievesley and Chris Clarke, and drummer Chalky Hill. They play a twisted version of thrash that deviates from both the traditional thrash bands from the 1980s (Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Kreator) and from modern bands that tend to rely on crossing over with 1980s hardcore punk (Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust) that resemble the very successful Suicidal Tendencies or Anthrax. While musically very different, Dan has a very similar quality of showmanship to many crossover front-men such as Mike Muhir from Suicidal, in that he doesn’t care if he looks like a clown, as long as he puts on a good show for his fans. He is a natural-born entertainer both in music videos and in their live performances.

Instead of trying to emulate these very distinct styles, Deraign draws influence from a lot of underground thrash metal bands, as a true amalgamation of styles from all of the bands that have tried to make a name for themselves. Bands that come to mind include Danish band Essence and American band Havok, who have seen success, but haven’t made as much of a household name for themselves as the Bay Area bands of old.

While Deraign may exude the energy and power of Bay Area bands such as Exodus and Metallica, they are also no strangers to taking their songs to a more melodic level, which shows a unique depth of musicianship coming from their guitar powerhouses in Steve and Chris. Such depth is displayed not just in their guitar melodies, but also in their rhythm section, as Chalky smashes out a variety of rhythms and timings that are usually unique to other subgenres of metal, or at times are unusual to metal as a whole.

The production style is very typical of the thrash metal genre. It includes guitars at the front of the mix, heavily compressed drums (especially the kick and toms), dynamic cymbals that sit further back in the mix, and a very raw take of vocals that at most had been limited and had a touch of EQ around the 200-400hz range. Metal production usually requires this approach to vocals, as the vocalists are often screaming, yelling, or otherwise projecting their lyrics in a very enthusiastic fashion. This can be seen, for example, in Overkill’s Wrecking Crew (below)

Overall, Deraign has produced a unique product in their music in a competitive Brisbane metal scene, where thrash metal is arguably the most alive out of any Australian capital city. Due to this, Deraign has been able to take their music to almost all corners of the country, and has even experienced what it’s like to headline their own tour in Indonesia. There is no doubt that they have a very bright future if they can keep adapting to a very demanding audience, who after almost 40 years worth of music, is often difficult to please. The fact that they have stood out to this audience already is a promising sign in and of itself.