Destruction - Born To Perish - (7/10)
Published on September 30, 2019
Since ‘all hell broke loose’ back in 2000, one of thrash metal’s oldest and most revered acts has been on something of a two-decade winning streak. The path hasn’t always been smooth – 2012’s Spiritual Genocide was something of a mixed bag – but generally, it’s difficult to conjure up any truly malicious opinions about Destruction. Schmier and co. seem to be on auto-pilot, cranking out album after album of more-than-solid Teutonic thrash metal in their inimitable style. This time around – a full 4 years after the decent Under Attack – original main men Schmier and Mike up the duo to a quartet by bringing in ex-Annihilator skin-smasher Randy Black and relative newbie Damir Eskic on lead. Does their input add anything to Destruction’s tried and tested formula? After more than 10 listens through 2019’s Born To Perish, it’s safe to say that: no, it doesn’t.
It’s business as usual for the German thrashers. Any fan of the band will know exactly what to expect when I say that, but for any newcomers reading who want to delve into Destruction’s back catalogue; what’s on offer here is slightly chaotic European thrash metal, primarily at breakneck speeds, chock full of angular melodies and rough vocal delivery. It’s not really changed since the new millennium, and I’m not really complaining. There are points throughout Born To Perish where I long for a slight shake-up in their M.O. It can be a chore to sit through the whole thing without one’s attention meandering. What it needs is a ‘sore thumb’ moment or two that makes the listener’s ears prick up and turns their heads. The closest we get is the eerie menace, and subsequent steamroller groove, of “Butchered For Life”. A sure-fire album highlight.
Opening with the punchy trio of the title-track, “Inspired By Death” and “Betrayal” was a solid way to kick off proceedings. As the three singles, these are probably the most anthemic cuts on the disc. The title-track especially is a real shout-along thrasher with oodles of replay value. After this, with the dual attack of “Rotten” and “Filthy Wealth”, we get a mild gear shift with a bit more swinging groove and punk attitude before “Tyrants Of The Netherworld” utterly rips your skin off with the most vicious chromatic riffs this side of The Antichrist. From here on, things tend to get a bit blurry and songs blend into one frantic mess. The occasional memorable refrain or tempo change juts out, like the pummeling riff at the 3:18 point in “We Breed Evil”, but this all seems like flab that could be trimmed.
I have positive things to say about pretty much every track here, but all that’s holding it back from being a ‘great’ album is the lack of anything new. Some bands don’t need to switch up the formula, but Destruction risk stagnation after this many albums. Perhaps if they left two tracks on the cutting room floor and added more variety, I could’ve pushed the score to a 9, but I really shouldn’t complain too much. Die-hard thrash metal fans like me should just be happy that such a renowned outfit is still producing quality material 37 years into their career. At least the production is solid and reeks of Destruction’s characteristic sound. Give it a spin, enjoy it, but don’t expect innovation or brilliance.