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Act Of Defiance’s Shawn Drover: “Chris and I dictated how we wanted to express ourselves musically.”

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By Paul Southwell

When long serving drummer Shawn Drover decided to move on from the huge, internationally successful band that is Megadeth, many were surprised having witnessed numerous cohesive tours and a stable workhorse on a varied but generally heavier bunch of studio albums. Then when equally hard working and virtuoso guitarist Chris Broderick decided to also pull the pin from being in the same band, it was quite a shock. That band’s remarkable resurrection is another story but in Chris and Shawn’s determined realm of newly found creativity, it turned out that both musicians had a productive work based rapport. So, the aptly named new band Act Of Defiance was created and Heavy Mag spoke to Shawn about the diverse genre covering debut album Birth and the Burial.

The aforementioned album comes with a huge amount of diversity but in addressing accusations of frustrated Megadeth songs, Shawn states the facts that any listener will confirm. “Nothing that I had was from there at all,” says Drover. “Chris had some stuff that he had recorded as he has a Pro-Tools rig in his house that he has converted into a studio. My stuff was pretty much all new material. I would say 90-95 percent was new material. I think Refrain and Re-Fracture had some stuff that Chris had recorded previously but I think it was for himself for a rainy day.”

On song writing on guitar and playing style in his profession of drumming, Shawn is equally and justifiably confident. “I am also a guitar player and wrote half of the record so for me it was business as usual. I wrote six albums of material with my previous band Eidolon so it was just a matter of going back into my music room and compiling heavy metal riffs.”

This debut album is also a first for Shawn using a seven string guitar in song writing. “I wrote the song Disastrophe on a seven string,” confirms Drover. “I used to tune down a six string for a darker sound because I like the Scandinavian bands like At The Gates and Entombed. So that wasn’t new to me but using a seven string was exciting. It took time to adjust to but it was quite inspiring.”

The creation, recording and production of the album was achieved with a strong work ethic. “We started demoing in late November and recorded in January so we just put our heads down and got to work, eager to create new music to express ourselves with ten crushing metal tunes,” states Drover. “Producer Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris was great as was the artwork done by Travis Smith [Nevermore and Opeth].”

For balance, the odd Megadeth producer deserves a mention. “I had a fantastic experience working with Andy Sneap on Endgame and I had the song Headcrusher on that record, which was nominated for a Grammy. It was all about making that record as heavy as possible. It is Dave’s [Mustaine] band. He has the final say in all of the business and musical decisions and rightfully so but with Act Of Defiance, Chris and I dictated how we wanted to express ourselves musically.”

The songs are diverse and will please many people with an open mind. For example, Refrain and Re-Fracture uses harmonised guitars and flamenco guitar playing before diving into heavy metal brutality. “We wanted songs to do different things as long as it was metal,” reveals Drover. “The beauty of this record is that it has something for everybody. We are not going to restrict ourselves. Obey the Fallen has an old school sensibility and is more of a straight up metal song with melodic vocals in it. Thy Lord Belial is speed metal from beginning to end. I didn’t want to write five songs that sounded the same. I love death metal and am a huge Cannibal Corpse fan. Some of it filters through subconsciously in how I express myself in songs. I wanted it to be uncompromising.”

Finally, given that Shawn also played in Megadeth alongside his guitar player brother Glen who also played with King Diamond, some of the drumming of current Motorhead drummer and prior King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee must have impacted upon his style. “I am a massive King Diamond fan,” enthuses Drover. “The song Legion of Lies is all double bass drum but has little ride cymbal trinkets which is a Mikkey Dee and Tommy Aldridge thing. Those guys inspired me as a teenager, as did Neil Peart of Rush. That is part of my style now which has made it into my playing.”

 

 

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