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DÉTENTE
DÉTENTE
Decline
(Xtreem Music)
41:00min

The story of DÉTENTE is a quite confusing one. Formed in 1984 in L.A., the band always was the brainchild of singer Dawn Crosby, who was the only constant member. After three demo tapes, the band released their first album “Recognize No Authority” two years after their formation. That album was one of the most outstanding releases of US Thrash Metal back then, since it was absolutely unique. DÉTENTE had a distinct influence from Hardcore and Punk, that was found in both music and lyrics. Dawn's vocals were angry and aggressive like the best Hardcore shouters of the time, combined with bass lines and some Hardcore riffs on an aggressive Metal base. In addition, the quite dark atmosphere of the album made it one of my favourite Thrash albums of all time. After the album there were conflicts within the band that ended up with Dawn firing all the other members. Those who got fired formed CATALEPSY with new singer Veronica Ross, following the path of DÉTENTE. Despite promising demos, they unfortunately didn't release a full length album and broke up in 1989. The newly formed DÉTENTE recorded two more demos before Dawn decided to put the DÉTENTE moniker aside. Instead, she started FEAR OF GOD with the remaining DÈTENTE members and released the very huge album “Within The Veil” in 1991. The band was active and even put out a mediocre second album until 1996. At the end of that year, Dawn passed away from acute liver failure, aged 33. That should have been the end of the story of DÉTENTE, but it wasn't, since we have the second album of the band here. It's called “Decline” and was recorded in 2010, with three members of the “Recognize No Authority” line-up who reformed DÉTENTE in 2008 just to split-up after that album. Vocal duties were taken over by a certain Tiina Teal, who successfully gave anything to be a good substitute for Dawn. In fact, her style of singing was in some moments surprisingly close to the one of Dawn, both in aggressive moments and in rare fragile moods ('Degradation Machine'). But sometimes, her voice reminds of Sabina Classen (HOLY MOSES) as well. Musically, the direction of DÉTENTE hasn't really changed in comparison to “Recognize No Authority”. The riffs are slightly more modern, sometimes the speed is more present, and somehow even FEAR OF GOD left a little trace. But the most striking point is the fact that most of the songs are nearly as sweeping as the old classics. There are some really huge highlights like the already mentioned 'Degradation Machine', that blew me away with some fragile breaks, or the final 'Ashes'. The opening, damn pissed off 'In God We Trust' and the grooving 'Predator' are killer songs as well. And with 'Genocide', we even have a blast of the past, since this song is nothing less than the instrumental song 'Catalepsy' from the first album with lyrics and vocals. All in all, DÉTENTE did not ruin their reputation with “Decline” at all, but managed to release a great follow-up to a 24 year old debut album. To give this thesis a proof, anyone new to DÉTENTE is advised to check the first album “Recognize No Authority” before checking out the second one. The latter is now as easy to find as the first, since Xtreem also re-released “Decline”, even though it is not as luxurious. First of all, the hidden bonus track of the original CD version finally gets its full reputation: a re-recorded version of 'Blood I Bleed' from the first album, that is nearly as good as the original and pretty close to it as well. And in addition, we get something pretty rare in the form of unreleased demo tracks here. These are from 2009 when DÉTENTE recorded three songs with HELLION singer Ann Boleyn, who was originally intended to be the singer of the reunion and even played some shows with DÉTENTE. I'm very thankful that this collaboration was ended before the album recordings, since the classic Metal vocals of Mrs. Boleyn didn't fit to the music of DÉTENTE one bit. Since all the songs were recorded for “Decline” as well with new lyrics and titles, everyone can easily check out the difference. The best example here is 'Play God', which became 'Degradation Machine' on the album. Ann Boleyn's delivery is not bad, but it completely lacks both the the fragility and the aggression of Tiina Teal's interpretation on the album. As far as I'm concerned, these bonus tracks are completely redundant, but they won't keep me from getting “Decline” on vinyl. For more, visit: www.facebook.com/officialdetente or www.xtreemmusic.com

Thomas Meyer

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DÉTENTE
DÉTENTE
Decline
(Cognitive Records)
35:09min

Even though my musical roots are to be found in the 80s Metal scene, I can't really say that I like the current trend, that bands (that had split-up longtime ago) give it a try again after many years of inactivity. Fact is, that the majority of them miserably fail in their attempt and only make fools out of themselves... and by that only destroy their once so mighty reputation. Needless to say that I was even more skeptical when I got the news that DÉTENTE was among those bands as well, not only with the intention to play some shows again, but that they also had plans to write and record a new album. I hate to say this, but to me it was perfectly clear that this could only result in another lame and superfluous release that would certainly do no justice at all to their outstanding 1986 debut full length "Recognize No Authority". You gotta remember that DÉTENTE was never your typical Bay Area-, New York- or German-style Thrash band, but a lot more influenced by Punk / old Hardcore as well. And the fact that they had a very unique, female singer in the great Dawn Crosby, who unfortunately passed away way too early (at the age of 33 in 1996), would make things even more difficult, since they had to find a replacement who would be able to live up to her overmighty legacy. But it seems the band didn't give a fuck and first of all started to play a few selected live shows with HELLION singer Ann Boleyn on board... Well, since I haven't attended any of those, nor did I check out any clips that are possibly out there on youtube or similar websites, I can't really comment on them. I was very surprised though, that Ann is already out of the band again and also not the singer on their new album "Decline"... She got replaced by Tiina (no, this ain't a spelling error!) Teal, who was totally unknown to me before, but as soon as she kicks off the new album with her very pissed off screamed "Welcome to the land of rape and money!", I already knew that this would become very interesting and by no means as bad as I expected it to be. About half an hour later I was totally blown away and heavily impressed by her performance which is as close to Dawn Crosby's as you can get! She does a killer job on the entire album and perfectly spits out her still very critical lyrics that have always been a very important part of DÉTENTE as well! But not only her angry vocals knew to impress me, but also the rest of the band, consisting of the three original members Caleb Quinn on guitars, Steve Hochheiser on bass and Dennis Butler on drums. Unlike many other old bands these guys managed to stay completely loyal to their old songwriting and have come up with material that sounds a lot more like a long lost, previously unreleased album from the 80s (including typical 80s style shouted backing vocals) than a freshly recorded 2010 release - and that is nothing but a big compliment from my side! Not even the production sounds modern and / or digital, but as old school as you can get, thanks to legendary producer Bill Metoyer who had worked on this with the band together. Old DÉTENTE fans will probably notice that the song 'Genocide' somehow sounds familiar... Well, that's simply because it was already featured on "Recognize No Authority", but back then it was still an instrumental called 'Catalepsy'... I can't really name you any highlights on "Decline" because to me the entire album is of the same quality and certainly won't disappoint any fan of "Recognize No Authority", that's for sure! By the way, don't take the CD out of your player after the last song 'This Is Not Freedom' is over, because after five minutes of silence you'll get a remake of their classic 'The Blood I Bleed', which is another proof of how close the band still comes to their old material these days. All in all a fantastic album, that is highly recommended! www.detenterna.com, www.myspace.com/detenterna

Frank Stöver

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