Long have I toyed around with the idea of “inventing” a few fake, Old Undiscovered Metal Masterpieces and put them on my want list (or even “review” them) just to mess with the heads of the manic collector fringe. Annoying as it would be you have to admit it would also be quite funny, right? Well, at least to merry prankster me it would. Today I’m happy I never followed up on that silly idea coz that would mean no one would ever take my rotten, wolf-crying word for this one…
With the help of some external financers, DETEST from the small town of Skövde got to realize any young band’s dream and release their own MLP. Tremble, world! Unfortunately the rest is silence …almost. I do have a vague memory of actually seeing the sleeve in some record store around the time of its release, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that this album once again crawled out into the light and shitshocked me + a handful of fellow collectors! There’s simply not supposed to be any secret Metal Treasures like this one left in the world. And still, apparently, there is.
Christ, were to begin.. Well, “Thundersteel” (the song) is exactly the kind of Majestic, Soulcrushing MONSTER of an anthem you always pray for when finally getting that bigass rarity in the mail. Promises of “kult Epic Power Metal!”-content from dubious sellers/reviewers tend to disappoint more often than not but fuck me, this is the real deal! Fantastic twin leads, a flawless production, proud battlefield lyrics and a chorus and bridge that put the last 20 years of MANOWAR to shame! I’ve honestly never heard anything like this from a Swedish Metal band and it doesn’t end there. “Chains Of Hell” crushes you like an omnious dragonship on an ancient, stormy sea and is as close to DOOMSWORD-might as you’d ever hear from this era. “Side by side – with Satan, On they ride – towards Hell!..”. Yep, that good.
On side B is where DETEST start to stray from the path to perfection. Such an obscure release like “Thundersteel” would have been an eyeraiser even if all songs sounded like “Cold Steel Tears Your Flesh”, but the jump from timeless, Epic Metal Glory to middle-of-the-road, Bay Area-light Thrash will be a minor disappointment any way you look at it, even when the overall performance is top-notch. The closing “Steinhurst Chainsaws” takes another radical turn, this time down the road to Doom-Thrash sludge. It’s some sinister and abrasive shit for sure, and now, standing on the absolute opposite end of the instant and catchy side A you still have to give them some credit for daring to explore such a wide array of metallic sounds.
As always, an eclectic debut like this begs the question of ‘What the hell were they all about?’ Luckily we find the answer in an 8-song demo tape recorded at the same time as the MLP. I’d be a lyin’ bastard if I said that any of these tracks are on par with their anthemic album title track, but as a whole it’s a superb piece of Power/Heavy/Thash, pending between the Epic (“Crossfire”, “The Avenger”, “Ride”..) and the MidpacePowerThrashy (“Betrayed”, “Bedlam”, “Wasteland”..) and comparable to bands like ANNIHILATOR or METAL CHURCH as well and underground acts like WITCHHAMMER (NOR), REDEEMER, WARMATH etc.
From here it’s pretty much ready-steady-go for all you reissue labels out there to get this long lost gem out to the starving Metal masses. A release like this is bound to happen. It’s written in the stars.