Nu-Metal was terrible, according to critics. It was masculine, posturing, witless, joyless rock that allowed everyone into the hermetically sealed world of metal. Actually, it did allow metal to crossover into the mainstream. In the early 2000s, it wasn’t unusual to see a Limp Bizkit song in the Top Ten or hear Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory at a party when only a year beforehand everyone was playing Travis. The trousers were wide and chains dangled from pockets. That was fashion and everyone seemed to dress this way, just before The Strokes appeared and reset the look of alternative music with Converse shoes. I always thought Nu-Metal acted as a gateway genre, which allowed disaffected teens access to other forms of loud music. Me? I liked some Nu-Metal. The presentation of these bands always delighted me. They were bright, strange, silly, and ridiculous, yet they also seemed to take themselves very seriously. Around this time, when Nu-Metal was at a cultural height, I was staying up to midnight in order to listen to Mary Anne Hobbs on BBC Radio 1, rather I was in bed with the lights off listening to a little portable radio set. I adore Mary Anne Hobbs. She presented The Rock Show which was required listening of any student who liked their vocals snarly and their guitars gnarly.
It was here that I first Defenestration. They were fronted by Gen Tasker, who looked like a fan of Baby Spice, but sounded like a Satan worshipper. Also in the band were Jamie Thompson, Rob Reeves, Scott Warner, and Kieran Brain. Past Members (according to the ever helpful Wikipedia) included Stuart Bruce, Stacey Maher, and Ben Gordelier. God bless them all for their services to my CD collection. Defenestration weren’t Nu-Metal, but like a lot of other bands at the time, they benefited from the sudden interest in loud music. The band had already appeared in Kerrang, tipped by Phil Alexander, the editor of the magazine. He also popped up on The Rock Show to give us some future hopefuls. In fact, from what I recall, it was Phil who first played Mushroom God. This, he said, is from Defenestration’s debut album. It was…a moment. Sometimes a song cuts through the noise and with Defenestration, that was the reason I loved them so much. They were loud, but my goodness they wrote catchy songs. Some would say Pop Metal, but I definitely took that as a compliment. Mixing pop music and metal? How wonderful! Mushroom God encapsulates their entire modus operandi. The opening riff nearly took my hair off my scalp and I immediately attempted to roll off my bed and turn the radio down. It was, after all, past midnight and my neighbour was hateful. Instead, I turned the radio right up, blasting it into the night. Even before the song ended, it was clear to me this was a band I’d come to love ardently.
Defenestration fit my CD collection quite nicely between Kittie (whose debut album I adored) and Sugar Coma (their second album being rather underrated) with my Will Haven/Marilyn Manson/Slipknot albums occupying shelf space nearby. Does One Inch God hold up to repeated listening? Yes, I think so. Because well-written songs never fade away. They always retain power and Defenestration might have disappeared out of sight, but whenever I listen to this album, I still find myself singing along (badly) knowing all the words. It was that sort of album and a reminder of a time when metal could make you want to dance in The Cathouse instead of moshing in the pit. Defenestration played at The Cathouse. They also toured schools being the first metal band to do so, apparently. My school weren’t as lucky. We had Another Level, who went on to be quite successful. I spent that afternoon in the school library, reading Point Horror books.
After One Inch God it all went quiet for this band, and quiet wasn’t something I associated with Defenestration. A second album titled Ray Zero was released. I like it, but I don’t love it. There was also an EP. Then they split up and went off in different directions, forming or joining other bands. I sometimes think about the reaction there might be if Defenestration reformed. Actually, I think there would be a bigger reaction than the band themselves might expect. Unfortunately, the album isn’t available for streaming, but I’ve sent it into the cloud via iTunes and have One Inch God ready and waiting to be played at any time, usually late at night, because that’s when we first met.