So who likes Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society? By Definition do. After 2 EPs, By Definition have unleashed their debut album The Concerns of Mortal Man and it’s a big, lurching, groove metal affair with a touch of the American south to it.
By Definition wear their influences with pride and it’s not surprising to discover they’ve even supported both Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society live. They certainly have an accomplished sound that lends itself well to the big stage.
Unfortunately the band suffers from a lack of creativity. The band riff too heavily on their aforementioned influences and it makes for a record that is devoid of any unique character of its own. This is a very tiresome album to listen to.
By the time you’ve finished listening to opener Lie you’ve heard everything that By Definition are going to do for the next 40 minutes. All the songs are structured thusly: 1) mid-paced southern groove 2) Si Stechler barks all over it 3) a guitar solo is added to every song. You can’t fault By Definition for sticking to a formula that works but after 3 songs of it you’re already beginning to grow weary.
The tempo even manages to get slower on Old Regrets and it does not help with the fatigue that sets in pretty quickly. The song is a crawling dirge that simply doesn’t excite which is something very concerning when you’re supposed to be making heavy metal.
By Definition haven’t been able to give their songs enough defining features of their own. This results in every song on The Concerns of Mortal Man sounding the same as the last. This could’ve been easily avoided if Stechler moved out of his comfort zone but the man never extends his range and his insistence on using a rather guttural, monotone voice is a bit dull to listen to. Also can we not have lyrics that contain the phrase “suck my dick” in 2014 please? This isn’t nu metal.
You can’t fault By Definition for sounding massive though. The production on The Concerns of Mortal Man is often excellent and the drums have a natural chunkiness to them that lets the crashes ring loud and proud. The bass is also satisfyingly thick which helps accentuate By Definition’s quite stellar grooves. It’s just a shame the production can’t fix the band’s unimaginative song writing.
By Definition is a band that have decided they like a very specific form of metal and that they want to make it to. They haven’t thought about what else they can bring to the table and as a result they’ve made a record that is overly familiar and a bit weak as a result. By Definition need to be more dynamic; the tempo needs to change, Stechler needs to be more daring with his vocals and more needs to be done to give each song something unique.
By Definition’s The Concerns of Mortal Man is out now and available to buy direct from the band.