Editor’s Note: It was such a great time interviewing Tris of rising UK metal band Dethonator, who recently released their critically acclaimed effort entitled “Race Against The Sun” via Pavement Entertainment. The discussion went every which way, ranging from the awesomeness of volcanoes to the music scene in United Kingdom to how they would react if President Donald Trump was moshing at one of their shows. Fans can find Dethonator at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: You recently released the album “Race Against The Sun”, take us into the album and the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the writing process.
Tris: We must have had upwards of twenty songs, seven of which were actually a conceptual work to be treated as one piece of music. So the most challenging aspect was trying to decide which songs were going to make the cut and how we would then arrange the album. This is how we have arrived at the point where we have ‘Race Against The Sun: Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ which should be released next year. Our original thought was to do a double album, where disk one would be a straight up Dethonator record and disk two would be something more progressive and conceptual, but for various reasons they are now being released separately. So, expect part 2 to be a different sort of a listen… but retaining that classically modern Dethonator sound! As for the most rewarding aspect, I would say it is hearing the songs come to life. I think part 1 sounds really strong and really complete. There aren’t any donkeys on there! The Metal Express said “The song writing on Race Against the Sun: Part One features an excellent blending of styles. Songs are loaded with thoughtful and well played Progressive, Power and Melodic Death Metal elements”. I think that’s a fair comment. This is definitely the most tonally varied album we have ever released, full of different influences and styles, blended into what makes us Dethonator. This record is as colourful musically as the album cover itself.
Madness To Creation: You all opened for a Dio tribute band recently, three favorite Dio songs!
Tris: Don’t Talk to Strangers is a definite fave. After that probably Heaven and Hell, and of course Rainbow in the Dark. We also do a pretty solid live cover of Holy Diver, just for fun.
Madness To Creation: Tell us about the lyric video for “Pyroclastic”, what is the song talking about?
Tris: The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD which resulted in something called a Pyroclastic Flow, which is essentially a giant eruption of molten hot ash that hit Pompeii at speed and caused utter devastation. It preserved a lot of the city and you can still see the bodies of some of those who died, encased in molten ash and preserved to this day. Fascinating but also incredibly grim. And volcanoes are very metal!
Madness To Creation: Favorite and least favorite thing about the U.K. music scene
Tris: I don’t know a huge amount about the U.K music scene as a whole, there’s a lot of urban genres that are huge at the moment that I don’t really understand, like ‘grime’, I couldn’t tell you much about that. If we’re talking rock and metal though, we have plenty of experience in that. I would say my least favourite thing about the U.K music scene is that we’ve been plugging away at it for over 16 years, yet I imagine that prominent figures in the ‘scene’ probably still have next to no clue who we are, haha! I’m hoping that this latest album changes that, as we have refined our sound and stepped up our live performance. There are a lot of bands. I don’t think we’ve ever been ‘cool’. We do what we do and our friends and fans have a lot of belief in us, which is great. Favourite thing about the U.K Metal scene…it’s best when the bands help each other out and support each other, then it works well. The audiences are usually up for it. Having said that, playing in Europe is a fave for us, at least the majority of venues will treat you with courtesy and respect, and by that I mean a warm welcome complete with beer, food and sometimes even accommodation. You don’t tend to get that in the U.K.
Madness To Creation: One stereotype that you’re sick of us Americans thinking that all British people are.
Tris: We aren’t all obsessed with the Royal Family.
Madness To Creation: If Donald Trump was in the moshpit how would your band react?
Tris: Probably get him up on stage and ask him to sing a song. I bet he’d tell us that he’s the most skilled, most talented, strongest singer of all time, with incredibly good singing genes.
Madness To Creation: I see Dethonator is playing several festivals coming up, big difference between gearing up for a club show and a festival appearance?
Tris: With festivals you have to keep it snappy. Choose a high energy set, put your new material out there and try to make an impact. At club shows there’s probably more room for some of our longer songs and a set that contains a mix of old and new material. We always prioritise our material, but we have been known to drop the odd cover into our sets as well, some audiences enjoy that on occasion.
Madness To Creation: Anything else you would like to add in regards to Dethonator?
Tris: I believe that there are very few bands out there doing what we do. If there are others then to be honest I haven’t heard them yet. We play metal with a melodic focus but I’m not talking about “Metal By Numbers”, if you know what I mean by that (if you don’t then go and check the video by Brian Posehn). We aren’t a ‘sub-genre’ band and there’s too much of that going on, in my opinion. We cannot be easily pigeon-holed. We aren’t a strict ‘NWOTHM’ band, or a thrash band, or a power metal band… yet we have been called all of these things at some stage or another. I always enjoy hearing what people in the audience have to say about us after a show, because everyone will have a different take on us. What we are is heavy metal: music that you can sing to, bang your head to, pump your fist to, and our audience understands that. We have a melodic focus and some people think that automatically means ‘trad’ or ‘power’ but then they hear the thrash / death metal / prog influences and it throws them off. Our songs tell stories, the music and lyrics take you on a journey. We aren’t a “I’ve just split up with my girlfriend” or “I’m really angry” type of listen. I’m not being critical of bands who deal with those subjects, but it isn’t really what we are about.
And there you have it! Dethonator has several gigs coming up! Check out the gig dates below:
Sat. 3/23- The Railway Hotel in Southend-on-sea, England
Sat. 5/4- Heaven & Hell Fest at The Royal Standard in Sheffield, England
Sat. 6/1- The Carlisle in Hastings, England
Sat. 6/29- TBC in Nottingham, England
Sat. 9/28- The Exchange in Keighley, England
For tickets and further information on any of the gigs coming up, click here.