Monday, August 20, 2007

Detritus - If But For One (1992)

This was my first exposure to Detritus. I purchased this album as a new release in the fall of `92, and was forever entrenched as a full-on thrash metal fan. Tourniquet's Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance was proof that Christian metal was as good (or in that case better) as what the secular & mainstream had to offer; this album further cemented that proof. Of course, it wouldn't be until several years later that I realized just how right I really was.

The album opens somewhat deceptively with a rhythmic acoustic guitar, followed by a bit of solo work that invokes a slightly subdued metal blues. All of a sudden, the heavy riff & powerful drum rhythm kicks in & you know this is a thrash album. "Masquerade" opens the album nicely with a great riff & powerful vocals by Mark Broomhead. "So Far Away" also opens deceptively; with a spacey clean guitar line that is ethereal & interesting. The dual-layered vocals works nicely with Mark sining in a tenor voice and a lower register in harmony. Half-way through the song the thrashy riff kicks in & takes the song into overdrive. "Let Peace Begin With Me" has a killer riff and urgent vocals. "Feel" is a bit of an acoustic interlude that swells to pique at the end. "Blindly Rejected" is a mid-paced song about the mentally & physically handicapped & how we as a society generally ignores or rejects them when all they want is love. The albums title piece is a monster thrash song with interspersed fast & slow riffing, a pinch of death metal growls, and a beautiful piano-laced outro that rivals Faith No More's "Epic" in that category. "Sailor's Farewell" is a tune that lyrically evokes Running Wild with their pirate themes, though in a more spiritual context. "Father To Son" is a great commentary of a father on his deathbed apologizing to his son for not being a better father, but asking that he take comfort in his Heavenly Father instead of looking to his own father. "As It Rains" is a metal praise song, if ever there was. It talks about the beauty of God and His creation in the earth, and how we as humanity have been careless & destroyed much of the beauty of the earth. "Subtle Shades" closes the album in an unorthodox fashion; the song is not thrash, and indeed, not even metal. It's sort of like an indie pop piece within the context of a Pink Floyd space-out. Truly an interesting piece, and lyrically abstract as well.

Detritus unfortunately broke up after this. I remember writing to them & receiving a letter back from the band months later that the group had split & was no longer selling merchandise. I was disappointed because I wanted a Detritus T-shirt. In any event, Mark Broomhead was in a new band called Fire Fly, though that is now defunct & they have reformed in to an outfit called Exoria. I'm hoping it's a metal project. In any event, this album is a lasting testament to how good Christian metal can be, & is JUST as good a listen today as it was 15 years ago when I bought it.


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