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Reprising the same explosive issues - 78%

slayrrr666, November 1st, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Vic Records

Having returned from their hiatus, Dutch melodic death metallers Detonation have put their self-imposed break to use with a continuation of their tried and true style of melodic death and thrash metal accents together into a solid whole. Following a four-year gap between releases, the group originally releases their fourth full-length independently April 2, 2011 before a reissue September 16, 2016 on Vic Records.

For the most part here this one is a rather dynamic and impressive offering of their style which is still quite prominent even after the layoff. Dwelling in plenty of ravenous swirling riff-work and charging patterns that add a nice quality of energetic material to the proceedings, there’s a melodic bent to these rhythms by placing a series of lighter rhythms to the main patterns here. Dragging plenty of choppy thrash-style riffing along the way and using that to augment the rather prominent melodic dirges, there’s a solid energy present here which is all balanced out by the rather strong mid-tempo plodding paces featured here which manage to generate the kind of solid, workable features needed to accent the melodic firepower to it’s greatest degree by keeping the atmosphere at a consistent tone to be able to introduce it’s melodic accents at finely-chosen levels. This does result in the album feeling way too simplistic and one-dimensional at times, negating a lot of these positives in order to keep this one at a rather constant placing so that it can keep the melodic accents firmly in tune with the rest of the album’s rumbling rhythms. Likewise, there’s a lot of rather rudimentary riffing and simplistic patterns that are prominent in the first half here which are thankfully improved upon in the later half which are much more enjoyable overall with a better sense of dynamics, and these here hold this one back somewhat.

Though there’s a lot to really like overall here, there’s a couple of minor problematic issues which are found throughout this one which does lower this one enough here which causes this to come off mostly for the most devout proponent of melodic death metal or fans of the bands’ previous work as well.

Still kicking, and in fact, a little harder - 70%

autothrall, April 18th, 2011

Detonation have long been an unsung contender in the melodic death metal field, and in my opinion perhaps the strongest Dutch entry in said category. I had hoped that their deal with Osmose might have elevated their status and granted them the attention to compete with the emergent Swedish acts like Soilwork or The Haunted, but despite strong offerings like An Epic Defiance and Portals to Uphobia, the cards were never quite stacked in their favor. They've been quiet for a few years due to lineup shifts and perhaps a bit of an understandable burnout. Reprisal joins original members Koen Romeijen (vocals, guitar) and Mike Ferguson (guitar) with a new rhythm section in Harry van Breda (bass) and Allard van der Kuip (drums) together the band sets to re-establish their presence against the changing landscape of the genre.

Some will undoubtedly be pleased with the strategy here. Detonation have always had an aggressive streak to them, but with Reprisal we hear the band at their most taut and violent. Much of the superfluous melodic styling of their backlog has been cut out of the compositional process, recompensed with a more death/thrash overtone redolent of the band's formative years. Thus the comparisons once drawn between them and say, Dark Tranquillity are likely to dissolve. Reprisal has far more in common with those modern tech death artists who are not above a hint of melody, say the Germans Stigmatized or maybe Arsis. Often, the Dutch veterans will merge their newfound velocity and the soaring grace of their past efforts, which results in a song such as "Absentia Mentis", coincidentally my favorite on the album, yet a lot of the tracks are more brutal and dynamic ("Enslavement"), with some intense drumming, crisp guitar tone and busy grooves ("No Turning Back").

As a fan of their older albums, I was at first slightly underwhelmed by the music here. I did not find it nearly so catchy as Portal to Uphobia. However, upon a few subsequent spins the album, the care and effort placed into its construction is obvious. There are a few pieces like "Falling Prey" and "Ruptured" which seem competent but forgettable, while the rest have a few solid guitar frames that mesh well into Romeijen's snarling, hostile vocals. The musical execution here is undeniable, and it might have an appeal for death metal fans who found their previous output too graceful or accessible. That said, there's not a hell of a lot interesting or innovative about it, just a well manicured reminder that some life remains in Detonation's once dried out well of productivity.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com