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Endstille – DetoNation

endstille – detonation


You cannot deny a band that released several songs with the title ‘Monotonus’ some sense of self-reflection, and for that matter, consistency. Monotonous isn’t a bad quality anyway, and in case of Endstille it’s a reflection of their style: blasting, bareboned, militant Black Metal. At least, that’s what I remember from the albums that I used to enjoy: ‘Dominanz’, ‘Navigator’, ‘Frühlingserwachen’ and ‘Operation Winterstum’. You can add ‘Endstilles Reich’, their 2007 album, to that list as well, but at that point I did feel the band had gone over the peak of intensity of their Marduk/ Immortal/ Gorgoroth / Antaeus/Les Légions Noires sounding Black Metal. And on subsequent albums ‘Verführer’ and ‘Infektion 2013’, the underlying atonal and uncomfortable atmosphere slowly drew to more melancholic realms as the music got diverse and less unforgiving, culminating in the rather varied but also sincerely lackluster ‘Kapitulation 2013’, and album that barely fit with the Endstille style. The band also must have realized that, as a new album titled ‘Finis Germaniae’ was cancelled because, according to the band, it did not feel like it fit with the Endstille style anymore. And now there is ‘DetoNation’, a brand new album, surfacing under the banner of their new partners in crime, Ván Records.

The cover of ‘DetoNation’ harkens back to the times of ‘Dominanz’ and ‘Navigator’ and while not exactly in that style, the latest album has more in common with the band’s older work than the previous albums. Yes, more melancholic elements surface from time to time and the band incorporates more midtempo sections than on the relentless early albums, but in terms of urgency and intensity, the album is closer to ‘Endstilles Reich’ and ‘Verführer’. It has the same monotonous structure, with song effectively using just a few main riffs while the persistent militant drums assault the listeners. Talking about monotonous and onedimensional is not always a good thing in relation to music but in the case of Endstille I would argue it’s their strength. And ‘DetoNation’ highlights that strength more than the previous albums did. The vocals sound more sincere and fierce than on the last few records as well, and the sound is less heavy in the bass tones and sharper and grittier, which is a better fit with the music.

The album starts with three songs that sound like vintage Endstille, such as one of the better tracks ‘Jericho Howls’ (which is about Stuka dive bombers). ‘Tochnit Aleph’ which has an almost Pagan undertone similar to a Primordial record like ‘Storm Before Calm’. The following tracks all have a bit more of a melancholic and epic undertone, introducing more midtempo sections. But the more straightforward writing style and pummeling drums make sure they don’t feel out of place and ‘Pro Patria Mori’ has a fairly menacing pace. But to be fair, at the point ‘Victorious’, with epic strumming that sounds like later Immortal, I was longing for a bit more meaningless sonic annihilation which ultimately returns with the title track. Enstille has a history with memorable title tracks such as ‘Dominanz’ and ‘Navigator’, and ‘DetoNation’ follows this trend. By far the best track, it comes closer to the aforementioned older songs than Endstille has been in a long time. At least, it certainly has the same sort of atonal skin-crawling undertone and relentless pace, buzzing guitars, commanding vocals and unforgiving sense of aggression and chaos.

No, ‘DetoNation’ is not another ‘Frühlingserwachen’, ‘Navigator’ or ‘Dominanz’. But it certainly is their best record in a while, and closer in level and style to ‘Endstilles Reich’ and ‘Verführer’ than their last few albums. I certainly found it to be their most enjoyable album since ‘Endstilles Reich’.


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