DETENTE, History I (2008, Cognitive)
A big red skull (but not the Red Skull), hastily pasted onto a black background with some red ravens, or something. A faint glow-line surrounds the skull which is not so much an aesthetic effect as an artifact of poor matting in Photoshop, and this glow is thematically reinforced by the zen-like ugliness of the generic, free font in which the text was set. The (jawless) skull itself was probably originally done in charcoal, and as big dumb skulls go, it’s a fine example (central and unadorned) but it probably could have been bigger. Compilations like this are a perennial occasion for BDSery, but even by the low standards of the cash-in demo compilation, this cover stands out for its laziness and ineptitude.
History I collects Detente’s first demo, and several demos by Catalepsy, the band formed by the three guys fired at once by singer Dawn Crosby. Since there are six Catalepsy tunes to only four by Detente, it would have made more sense to call this a Catalepsy release, but of course no one knows who they were, while Detente are still a warmly remembered second-tier thrash band from the golden years. All four Detente tracks appeared on the band’s classic Recognize No Authority album, and the sound quality here is actually quite good for a demo rescued from the clutches of 1985. The Catalepsy tracks are also fairly well preserved, and they do faithfully continue in the tradition of the Detente album. The main appeal of this band was always the barbed-wire vocals of Crosby, so it’s actually fairly surprising how similar in sound and effectiveness her Catalepsian counterpart, Veronica Ross, is on her tracks. Both women bring an unchained, but still vaguely melodic charisma to the well written but hardly original thrash that was the stock and trade of Detente. Catalepsy included drummer Dave McClain, later of S.A. Slayer, Sacred Reich, and Machine Head, and both Detente and Catalepsy were anchored by guitarist Ross Robinson, who went on to fame and fortune as a producer, bestowing on the world such immortal classics as Korn’s self-titled debut and Limp Bizkit’s Three Dollar Bill, Yall$. So, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t Robinson who threw this disc together, as he sure as shit doesn’t need the money.
— Friar Johnsen