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Review: Detriment - Surreal

Label: Independent
Year released: 2003
Duration: 37:20
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: March 1, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 1.5/5 (30%) (2 Votes)

I've been going back and forth on this one for a week now. On first spin I rather liked this disc, on second spin I hated it, and now I'm playing it again and I rather like it again. I'm not sure what sub-genre this is trying to be. I'd call this thrash, because it has a thrash feel to it, but it never goes fast, so I've called it just "Heavy Metal" – not because it's a 'True Metal' release, but because it isn't any one thing in particular.

This is vaguely similar to "Cowboys From Hell" era Pantera, only less frantic and not nearly so technical. I'd say the predominant influence here is old US-Thrash like Testament and especially early Shitallica. There are some pretty good riffs here, and the vocals are an unexpected pleasure. Now Rob Malvagno is by no means a great singer, but he is far beyond the normal demo-level caterwauling you usually get. He has a strong, Phil Anselmo-like midrange wail and can manage a good high note here and there. He doesn't do much with vocal melodies, but he certainly has the stuff to if he wanted. The production here is actually pretty impressive for an indie release, with a nice fat guitar tone. It is a little bass-heavy for my taste though.

This ain't bad at all, and I think the major weakness here is a certain lack of direction. I can tell this band has potential: they write cool riffs, they know how to play, and their singer has balls and can actually sing. But they don't really seem to have anything to say, and they don't seem to know quite what they want to do. All the pieces are here, and they have the right idea, they just need to put them together in a much more compelling way. First, they need some variety in songwriting – all these songs are at the same speed and pretty much in the same key, so they blend together. Second, they need some better vocal lines and some memorable choruses to give you something to hum. If these guys would pick up the pace, tighten their songs up and let their singer really wail, they could be right up there with Godiva or Agent Steel. Detriment (lousy name) have the stuff to be a killer band, I just hope they decide they want to use it.

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