Sunday, August 19, 2007

Detritus - Perpetual Defiance (1990)

If there was ever an underrated thrash band in all of the UK in the secular scene, it was Xentrix. Apparently too many people thought they had more in common with the bay area thrasher's of the day (& Metallica) than their European counterparts (such as Destruction or Kreator) & that their music wasn't as interesting as it could or should have been. I never subscribed to such thought, however; rather, I was more a fan of Xentrix than either of the aforementioned bands, probably because I preferred their lyrical approach more.

That said, they also had an enjoyable music style. Which brings us to this album - Detritus' "Perpetual Defiance" has much in common with their UK countrymen Xentrix, and much different as well. Allow me to explain. While Xentrix's debut album "Shattered Existence" showcased a better production value than this platter, Detritus showed marked improvement over that album in terms of songwriting and diversity. Where "Shattered Existence" was quite a consistent album, having much the same sound all the way through, Detritus showed us quite a range on "Perpetual Defiance", from the more mellow opening moments of "Child", to the eerie intro to "Morbid Curiosity", the brutal thrash assault of "No Mercy", the lyrical indictment of satanic lyricism in "Playing With Fire", or the straight-forward British thrash of "Taste the Blood". Xentrix had not been so bold. Although this album lacks a tad, sonically, it makes up for it in droves via memorable songs, as well as through the diversity. In addition, the brilliant Rodney Matthews cover art gives the album additional weight in a market where most secular metalheads wouldn't give a Christian metal album a 2nd look, the mark of a good album sleeve (something most metal bands strive for) was definitely in the band's favor.

For these reasons, I'd say "Perpetual Defiance" is at least on par with, if not superior to "Shattered Existence", and for that, it deserves a place in any thrash metal fan's collection. I dare say it belongs in the top 15 Christian thrash albums of all time. Granted, this was not my first exposure to Detritus (that came several months earlier when I purchased this album's follow-up "If But For One" & was inexplicably drawn in). At first blush, this album (with it's somewhat thin production by comparison, and toned down progressive tendencies) was a minor disappointment. While time has not been kind to the album where the production is concerned, the songs still stand the test. Overall, a stunning debut from a quartet whose next album would prove to be a landmark, not only in Christian metal, but in thrash metal as well.


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