Detraktor – Full Body Stomp


Thrash trio, Detraktor, flex their muscles with the wry smile of the misanthrope who has an equal level of social awareness and social ineptitude. They stormed onto the underground German scene with 2018’s Size Matters EP – a record that venerates the masculine glory of tractors – and followed it with 2019’s well-received Grinder album. Clearly, they have a sense of humour, but you wouldn’t know it listening to their music. Full Body Stomp is exactly what the album title describes – a herculean mass of down-tuned thrash metal riffage packaged into a cauldron of industrial beats and violent hardcore rage. This is face-mangling music that threatened to break through into the mainstream in the mid-1990s but never reached its full potential.

You’ll feel weighed down in body armour in preparation for combat with a wild beast on opener, ‘Gorilla’, but your instinct tells you that your opponent will come off best. New drummer, Pablo Cortés, announces his presence in style with an intro to rival Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’, yet his rhythms feel like a murderous attempt to cave your head in with his bare hands. Listen how the dual guitars burrow underneath your skull like parasites of the brain. The band turn the bass up loud in the mix here and calibrate their amp distortion with the perfect mix of gain and treble settings. It should be a fun song about how the gorillas in your local zoo will one day enact their revenge on their human captors, but the levels of violence are enough to bludgeon you into submission. Think Ministry in the Psalm 69 era with the biceps of Pantera’s ‘Fucking Hostile’ and the groove of Exhorder. Jeez, this is heavier than a night on the powder in Hamburg’s red-light district.

Of course, there’s only one band who perfected this template, and that’s New York legends, Prong, with their landmark 1994 album, Cleansing. In a modern thrash scene that worships the Bay Area and the Teutonic greats, it’s refreshing to hear a band point their guitars towards the industrial-thrash hybrid of the 1990s. Detraktor remind you on ‘Bear Fight’ and ‘Behave’ that this experiment ought to have evolved into something more colossal and bone-crunching. Instead, we ended up post-1996 with the tepid nu metal that strangled the embryonic stages of its development. Prong had Sony/Epic breathing down their necks, which meant they couldn’t indulge the twenty-second guitar solo with harmoniser effects on ‘Behave’ or the seven-minute industrial riff soup of ‘Seven’. Detraktor have no such pressure to smooth over the sharp edges with polish.

If there is a formula, it’s one that triangulates between Prong, Godflesh and Pantera. Imagine if Slayer’s 1998 album, Diabolus in Musica, sounded as primed as the audio delights on offer here. These riffs will make your bottom lip quiver and will singe your eyebrows. Vocalist, Boris “Sunday” Pavlov, thunders like somebody woken up during the day by a gang of hoodlums after a long nightshift at the abattoir. Would you want to confront him in this mood? The only thing missing from ‘I’m the King’ is a guest appearance from Barney Greenway (Napalm Death) to ramp up the gnarly levels even further.

Though used as a retrospective term, groove metal is something we created to describe how the heavy bands of the 1990s moved thrash away from speed in favour of steroids. This mid-tempo crunch seduces the imagination of the two guitarists, and we’re all the better for it. ‘Revenge’ can rival anything on the last two Soulfly records, yet its experimentation with Spanish guitar plucking and sweep-picking solos demonstrates a greater depth to the band besides colossal chugging. Closing track, ‘Filth Me Up’, doesn’t bother with a memorable chorus – neither do most of the cuts on this record. This music is all about the beats and the riffs. The band force these on you like an adrenaline surge injected into your body to sway you towards impulsive actions you would normally shy away from.

We all know that heavy guitar music can generate a feeling of invincibility in the listener, and Full Body Stomp is the ideal album if you crave this phenomenon. Turn it up, work those tendons, and raise those shoulders in triumph. You are the king.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 18/11/2022

Record Label: Massacre Records

Standout tracks: Gorilla, Bear Fight, Revenge

Suggested Further Listening: Prong – Cleansing (1994), Last Piss Before Death – LPBD (2022), Godflesh – Pure (1992)