Nima : After operating as Kaleb for a couple of years, these Brits changed the name into Dethonator in 2009 and changed the musical course a bit. The first result appeared a year later in the self-title debut, that was released in 2012 officially via Ironstone Records. On that album the men showed modern, progressive heavy metal with influences from (Swedish) thrash. With that new approach Dethonator showed a lot of potential, but the album failed in my opinion because the music sounded too chaotic due to the poor production.
‘Return To Damnation’, which was released last year, is more or less a logical continuation of the debut. Heavy metal still plays the main role, but the thrash and especially the prog influences are more obviously present. Think of influences from Maiden and Imagika to Exdus and Metallica, and from Orden Ogan and Edguy to In Flames and Mnemic, and everything in between. Only this time the gentlemen have taken care of business a lot better and show progress on all matters. Not only does the sound match today’s standard this time, but also the songs sound much better thought-through and the different influences are far more balanced. In James Burton the band had great vocalist in its ranks, but he is no longer part of Dethonator. The lead vocals on this album come from guitarist Tris Lineker, whose voice is similar to Burton’s, but even stronger. And finally the total picture is more varied whereby the songs are more impactful than before. Well I must say that the whole thing is still far from original but the band has definitely developed a more self-identity.
All in all ‘Return To Damnation’ has turned out more melodic than the debut, but fortunately the album doesn’t lack aggression nor speed whatsoever. Thanks to the varied influences and the fact that the music contains different layers the album is harder to digest at the first instance. Although the music does sound immediately catchy thanks to the catchy riffs, beautiful guitar melodies that create a delightfully melancholic atmosphere, and strong vocals, the songs don’t linger at first and don’t make lasting impression. After multiple listens the album starts to come into its own more and more, and if you can appreciate modern heavy metal with a huge chunk of prog and a thrashy edge, then you should definitely give ‘Return To Damnation’ that chance to grow. All in all a solid record, although I must admit that it’s all too modern for my taste.