When faced with writing a review for a young, relatively unknown, band I do not limit myself to what I can read on a promo sheet. I enjoy getting on the web doing some research on the band’s website, but only after I heard the album in question at least a couple of times. Doing the same thing with the Dutch Detonation left me a bit surprised, as none of the band members mentions Dark Tranquillity as one of their influences. They even don’t mention the Swedes as one of their favorite bands. C’mon, guys, you hire Niklas Sundin to do your cover art, your sound is quite similar to the Gothenburg masters, yet you do not acknowledge the fact Dark Tranquillity had anything to do with your evolution as metal musicians? This little, possibly baseless, complaint aside, Portals to Uphobia is one excellent melodic death/thrash album all Dark Tranquillity fans, yours truly including, will enjoy.
Portals to Uphobia is a second full-length for this Dutch outfit following on the heels of a good reception for their debut An Epic Defiance. In a few words, with Portals to Uphobia Detonation have created the best combination of urgent thrash and harmony filled melodic death metal since The Mind’s I.
If Dark Tranquillity are gods of harmony then Detonation must be its worthy apprentices. The Dutchmen honor harmony a lot, and they do it in many different ways. They often double it with Koen Romeijn’s and Mike Ferguson’s guitars, blast over it in the opener Into Sulphur I Descend, sing over it in the title track and bend it every which way with the Saber Dance tempo in Structural Deceit. Whenever Detonation decides to thrash (Into Sulphur I Descend, End of Sight, End of Tears, The Loss of Motion Control), it is always timely, headbang inducing and palpably captivating, just like Zodijackyl Light and Scythe, Rage and Roses. Steady rhythmic riffing of Chaos Banished and passion of songs like Beyond the Margin add intensity to the album, and nods to more modern Soilwork direction exist when the whole band synchronizes with the machine gun precise breakdowns. The barbarous nature of these moments is well balanced with gloomy atmosphere of End of Sight, End of Tears and acoustic intro break to Solitude Reflected which blends in nicely with otherwise thrashy speed bursts in the rest of the song. Detonation even pass the test of the good instrumental, Lost Euphoria Part III flowing well with its circular riffs and lead guitar sounding like a sitar providing a Middle Eastern touch (it seems that many Dutch bands are fascinated with Middle Eastern culture).
Koen Romeijn’s vocals do remind me of Mikael Stanne, as his growl is very melodious and legible. I like this approach as to me it packs much more emotion than simple screams (Chaos Banished).
I was rereading what I wrote in the previous paragraphs, and have come to realization I may have given you a wrong impression that Detonation rip off Dark Tranquillity, nothing else. This could not be further from the truth. Detonation are their own band with original riffs and both winged and sad melodies. It is not their fault that the bar at the trough of the melodic death metal has been set so high by the aforementioned Swedes.
Just like it was the case with Dark Tranquillity I am glad that Osmose discovered Detonation. I guess they have their ear tuned to what is “right” in the overpopulated melodic death metal genre. As Osmose bands get the exclusive The End distribution in the US, Detonation will benefit from that hardworking label introducing the Dutchmen stateside. It is nice to see that an obvious talent will be assisted by a modicum of luck in this case. This could not have happened to a more deserving, young, up-and-coming band.
Those of you who turned me on to this excellent band (you know who you are), sincere thanks.
Killing Songs :
Into Sulphur I Descend, Portals to Uphobia, End of Sight, End of Tears, The Source to Delve
|Alex quoted 89 / 100|
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