DESTRUCTION certainly deserves recognition for being one of the earliest Thrash bands and for having a reasonably distinctive sound (thanks to Schmier’s snarl-y vocal exploits) but in all honesty I am firmly of the opinion that they are one of the most overrated ‘classic’ Thrash bands. If you ask me, bands like EXUMER or PARADOX were far better German Thrash acts back in the day.
Their debut, “Infernal Overkill”, really doesn’t have a lot going for it and save for the excellent “Bestial Devastation” it is quite a nondescript and at times worryingly sloppy affair. If I had to choose between “The Antichrist” and this one I’ll take the former any day of the week as it is the album where they really hit their stride, even though it was about 15 years too late. So what can be said about this primitive album? Not a whole lot – hence my disappointment – since these eight tracks all follow the same formula, that being mostly mid-paced Euro-Thrash with the occasional IRON MAIDEN-esque melodic break (see “The Ritual”, “Tormentor”). It’s not bad per se but the lack of any discernible aggression or even any significant amount of speed pretty much dooms this album to mediocrity if you ask me. Whereas KREATOR and SODOM raced out of the gates with maniacal vigour, Schmier and co pretty much stay in a safe, mid-paced area that doesn’t allow for any great Thrash moments. “Invincible Force” isn’t bad, while “The Ritual” really gets going about halfway through, being both groovy and melodic at the same time. The true highlight though, and an all-time classic Thrash tune, would have to be the aforementioned “Bestial Devastation”, a track that has all the hallmarks of a great Thrash song, namely catchy riffs, smart time-changes, seething vocals, and speed. Seriously, those choppy riffs during the verse and chorus are fucking amazing and they bristle with energy and genius. They also employed the same kinds of riffs on “Bullets From Hell” (off “The Antichrist”), and its one of the main reasons why I hold that album to be the band’s best.
Like I said before this is not a bad album, it simply doesn’t have enough standout moments to elevate it to ‘classic’ status. They got slightly better on their subsequent offerings (especially “Release From Agony”, thanks in no small part to a way better production) but if you’re looking for special Teutonic Thrash from Thrash Metal’s golden era I suggest you check out KREATOR’s “Pleasure To Kill”, SODOM’s “Agent Orange” or EXUMER’s “Possessed By Fire” first.
Note: the mp3 links above are from re-mastered tracks and do not reflect the original sound of the recordings.
(Online December 22, 2008)