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Record 5 of 51
Band's Name:  Civil Defiance
Contributor(s):  Rob Devereux(dev@pair.com)
Last Time Updated:  25-Feb-2000
Band's Country:  USA (L.A.)

Abstract Reaction (1991),The Fishers For Souls (1996),Circus Of Fear (1999)

State(Active or Disbanded):  Active
Biography:  From the official site:

Ever since their inception in 1989, L.A.-based CIVIL DEFIANCE have made it a point to strive for excellence and originality in the monkey see, monkey do music world where, more often than not, appealing to the lowest common denominator is the key to success. Initially influenced by late 80's thrash and speed metal but looking beyond the confinements of the genre early on, the band did not hesitate to experiment with everything from jazz, ethnic, and psychedelic elements to brutal grindcore as documented on their acclaimed 1991 limited edition EP, Abstract Reaction. Said EP, nothing more than a 4-song demo pressed on CD, made some major waves locally as well as abroad, especially in Germany. Developing a loyal following through strong word of mouth, CIVIL DEFIANCE soon were the talk of the town with scores of major label A&R's checking out the band. A deal seemed imminent but ultimately never happened - a last minute casualty of the Grunge juggernaut and behind-the-scenes label politics. Rather than compromise and play ball, the band forged on independently and recorded their first full-length album, The Fishers For Souls, with their own money, resulting in a rather lengthy process to get everything on tape. By the time The Fishers For Souls was released via the band's own Blood Orange label in the summer of 1996, the struggles to keep afloat and not lose hope had taken their toll. Brothers Mike (dr) and Jenk Kent (bs) and co-founding member Mike Kinney (g) left the fold in short succession, leaving mastermind Gerry Nestler (vocals, guitar, piano) without a band and CIVIL DEFIANCE teetering on the edge. Meanwhile, The Fishers For Souls was received enthusiastically in and around Germany, scoring raves reviews in magazines such as Rock Hard and Heavy, Oder Was!?, which resulted in a licensing deal with Dream Circle Records and wider distribution for the album. The spring of '97 saw the arrival of CIVIL DEFIANCE for their first ever European tour in support of Psychotic Waltz. Now comprised of Gerry Nestler, original drummer Gabe Treviso, guitarist John Lisi (ex-Bloodlust, Last Rites), and bass prodigy, Juan Perez, Civil played to enthusiastic crowds from Cologne to Budapest, making many new friends and fans along the way. Rock Hard's Michael Rensen called the band, "an ideal blend of Zappa, Soundgarden, and Strapping Young Lad. These guys have the potential to become huge one day." Yet, rather than seize the momentum, the band hit another brick wall upon returning home. Unable to find a suitable replacement for Treviso and without a label, Gerry Nestler and Juan Perez opted to pursue a new project, Philm, (now called Kkleq Muzzil), with former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, writing and demoing material and doing the music for an underground short form flick titled Crazy Love. Dormant but not dead, CIVIL DEFIANCE became the focus once again when Nuclear Blast A&R man, Andy Siry, a longtime supporter of the quartet, approached the band and offered to sign them to his own fledging Grind Syndicate Media label. The result of this union is Circus Of Fear. Centered around the four songs of the aforementioned Abstract Reaction EP, Circus Of Fear is a testimony to the musical chameleon that is CIVIL DEFIANCE. Showing off a blistering array of musical experimentation that blends textures with emotions, CIVIL DEFIANCE prove themselves masters at the art of dynamics, bringing their unique sound from subdued acoustics to intense, aggressive rhythms. Equipped to pull off anything from thrash to 70's psychedelia, Mediterranean folk to grindcore, head spinning progressive workouts to straight ahead, in-the-pocket grooves in equally convincing fashion, and topping things off with the beautifully orchestrated Man In The Moon, featuring Atlantic recording artist Lili Hadyn on violin and viola, CIVIL DEFIANCE have once again delivered the kind of twisted sonic rollercoaster these Angelenos have become known for. "Expect the unexpected" continues to be the musical mantra CIVIL DEFIANCE live by as mainman Gerry Nestler and partner-in-crime/lyricist, Brad Hornbacher, take their creation into the 21st Century. The cast of characters may change but the commitment to defiance over compliance remains unwavering. Stay tuned.

Opinion(s) on Band's Discography:  

From Rob Devereux (dev@pair.com):

Abstract Reaction is a 4 song EP that covers a lot of ground. There's the thrash of the title track, the prog rock of "Under the Volcano", heavy psychedelic music of "God, Death and Audio Tape" and chaotic thrash of "Swarm". It's one of the most unique heavy albums I've heard. Fisher for Souls tones down the heaviness a bit, but adds a lot of jazz influence, as well as world music (there's koto, bagpipe, some Mediterranean sounding stuff). Circus of Fear re-releases the songs from Abstract Reaction, along with "Man in the Moon" from Fisher. The rest of the songs range from all out thrash to hardcore to just hard rock. Overall, they combine thrash and and world music, with an experimental edge, and a mix of melody and dissonance. The vocals aren't spectacular, but the music more than makes up for them. Fisher For Souls is a good starting point for prog fans, while Circus of Fear is better for thrash or avant metal fans.

Present and Past Members:  Gerry Nestler (vocals, guitar, piano)
John Lisi (guitar)
Juan Perez (bass)
Gabe Treviso (drums)
Brad Hornbacher (lyrics)

Past members:
Mike Kent: Drums (Through 96)
Jenk Kent: Bass (Through 96)
Mike Kinney: Guitar (Through 96)

Reference Bands:  
Links related to the Band:  http://julien.org/civildefiance

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