When i think of Holland i think of ridiculous british tourists indulging in 'relaxed' drug laws and Harr Enfeild comedy sketches. But finally a band has come along that has changed my opinion of the country forever. Detonation are indeed a melodic death metal band, but before you think 'not another Gothenburg wannabe' i can confirm that they are anything but that. Yes, i'm sure they would site our old favourites Dark Tranquillity and At the Gates as influences, but bands like Death, Slayer, Death Angel, Kreator, Megadeth, and possibly even Dream Theatre come to mind when bangning along to this baby.
The thing about 'An Epic Defiance' that sends me into a metallic uphoria every time i listen to it is just the fact that, like many of the best albums, everything just seems to 'work' and fit perfectly into place. The first thing that really caught my attention was the phenomenal guitar playing. It doesn't take a savage intellect to detect many of Detonations cheif influences (especially Dark Tranquillity's 'The Minds I'), but these flying-dutchmen have taken the sounds of their idols and crafted one of their very own, which is at the same time furious and powerful but also elegent and magestic. Yup, the ol' Gothenburg elements are worn on the sleeve and there's no shame in that, but Detonation have their own take on the proceedings - they don't just beat the crap out of minor pentatonic and aoelian scales - in between the thrashing mayhem we find a lot of very spacey melodies with a big hint of prog rock. This prog factor is also refelcted in the songwriting, where lots of technical riffing and rather complex structures abound. I can also hear much classic heavy metal, the odd scent of black metal and a huge slice of technical trash (think German school) thrown into the pie. Not only that, but the playing is very inventive and dynamic, shifting through constantly changing tempos and moods, often incorporating blast beats, mid-paced grooves, clean breaks and of course some wonderful solo's, leads and harmonies. The interplay between the two guitarists is phenomenal. The variety of the album is also apparent from the first listen; Detoantion excell on fast thrashy numbers like 'The prophesy unfolds' or 'Crawling through the Vile' but also show that they can handle mid pace just as well with the title track or the pendulum groove of 'Forever buried pain'. The ace in the sleeve, though, has to be the slower but insanly intese numbers like 'Deserving Death' or my favourite 'Collision of Despair'. I jest thee not; this has to be some of the best guitar playing ever to come out of the land of clogs and weed. The drumming is also utterly spectacular and rivals that of say Absu or Divine Heresy - this guy knows his double bass pedals like the back of his hand as he's not afriad to use them (check out Voices Beyond Reason). But its not all blasting and machine gun drumming, theres as much variety to the top class drumming as there is to the guitar playing. I imagine the bass is great also, but i can barely hear it (well it is metal after all) and the vocals, while nothing special, suit the music well in a kinda Bjorn Strid fashion. And not once neo-classical keyboard run in the whole thing!
There's only one fault i could point out with this beauty and its nothing to do with the band as such; the production is sort of sub par. But fret not, those of us who have invested in quality head phones will get the maximum enjoyment possible, and at the end of the day the production isn't really bad its just kinda basic. Doesn't stop this being one of my favourite albums either!
Every once in a while, and not too often these days, a band comes along that completly and utterly blows my socks off. Detonation one are such a band and even after listening to this for more then a year 'An Epic Defiance' remains exactly that; an epic defiance of everything that went wrong with melodic death metal and an epic defiance of making anything less then unquestionalably top class music. As far as i'm concerned, this is on a par with the best of anything the giants of this genre has produced and should rightfully be acclaimed with the likes of 'The Gallery' 'Heartwork' and 'The Jester Race'. If you're a fan of melodic death, prog metal, thrash, extreme music in general i cannot recommend this highly enough.Read more ›