In my late teens/early twenties – we’re talking 1987 – 1990 something – I started reading foreign Hard Rock magazines – and with foreign I mean non-swedish. My musical tastes back then was Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, AOR and Metal, nothing harder than Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Accept and such. Thrash and Speed Metal wasn’t even on my map. I even thought Metallica were nothing but noise. The fact that I read those mags back to back no matter if I liked the band in question or not – I still do that btw – is the fact that I have at least some knowledge about all those Thrash, Speed, Death and Black Metal bands, many of which I still almost haven’t heard a note of. But due to Metallica’s black album and the video for Slayer’s “Seasons In The Abyss” my musical taste started changing in the early 90’s, mixing up my original taste with bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Testament – although still leaving German Thrash acts such as Sodom, Kreator, Rage and Destruction on the way-side.
The reason for me taking an interest in Destruction is because of a friend of mine who was nagging my brains out about me HAVING to check them at out at Sweden Rock Festival last year and since I was there with nothing else to watch, I decided to oblige him – and I thought they were great, much to my surprise. Since Destruction are now current with a new record, I thought it was time to finally get acquainted with the band. Some might argue that I’m a bit late with that – Destruction was formed back in 1982 by bassist and singer Schmier, guitarist Mike Sifringer and drummer Tommy Sandmann – and that this is wrong album to start with. But hey, if I dig this one, I might dig back in to their catalogue – the band do have 13 more albums released since their debut in 1985. Destruction has had a lot of different line-ups throughout the years with Schmeir and Sifringer there for the whole ride. Today Destruction are completed by drummer Randy Black (joined in 2018) and additional guitarist Damir Eskic, who joined this year.
The opening title-track and first taster/video jumps on me, shoves me down and does its best to beat me up. To my ears, this goes into the old school of Thrash Metal – aggressive, fast and in-my-face with a punchy and direct refrain. It’s intense and rowdy and here to show people that after all these years, Destruction still mean business and they’re coming for us. Yes, I quite like this one. Latest single “Inspired By Death” continues with razor-sharp guitars, screamy vocals and rhythm section that’s furious. In a meeting of NWOBHM and classic Thrash, the song goes right for the throat. I wouldn’t call the refrain catchy but it sure sticks, somewhat melodic but more in a edgy way. Very good.
“Betrayal” is the second outing from the album and the tune is a fast and furious number, speed-oriented with thunderous drumming, kicking guitars and a dark and venomous refrain on top. Hard and fierce but melodic enough to stick – good one. “Rotten” is upbeat, heavy and rough – not as fat as the previous track but still very thrashy. “I’m more evil than Satan”, states Schmier in a malevolent way and how “rotten, rotten, rotten to the core” he might be, he do know how to write aggressive and raw Metal that still holds hooks enough to reverse a guy like me. The verses even holds a beefy groove, without losing any aggression and the refrain is both a fist in the face and memorable. Very good.
The title “Filthy Wealth” speaks for itself and the tune needs no explanation lyrically. It’s a classic Metal tune with twists of Thrash. It is uptempo and gritty, riff-happy and robust, hard yet melodic and without being the least radio-friendly or commercial, the tune’s got the most accessible refrain so far. Great stuff. “Butchered For Life” starts out slow and stripped, almost like a ballad but also dark and eerie. With a bouncy rhythm section the tune goes into a harder and riffy mode – still on a slower note. But soon enough the tune takes a heavier and rougher route with fast drumming and lots of aggression. Still heavy and dark, the slower, ballad-like verses returns and the song also brings on a big refrain with a huge vocal-melody that sticks. A rowdy thrash-riffy passage comes in towards the end before going out swinging on a fast and heavy note again. Good stuff.
“Tyrants Of The Netherworld” comes in hard, fast, ferocious, crunchy and ballsy, classic 80’s Thrash Metal style. It’s brutal and ripping but at the same time, I lack the upfront melodies of the rest of the album which makes it too non-melodic and therefore the nuances are lost. I do love heavy stuff but when aggression and attitude takes over from melody, I’m lost. Fast as hell, gutsy and maddening, “We Breed Evil” comes across as a Thrash Metal laden “Fast As A Shark” (Accept), bouncy and hard-hitting and a refrain that beats you up real good. This is high velocity Metal that relentlessly will make you gasp for air when it’s done. This stuff usually leaves me dumbfounded but for some reason I embraced this tune fully.
With a rough rhythm that comes along scratching and biting, shitloads of heaviness and some fat and gutsy riffing, “Fatal Flight 17” goes for the KO, somewhat reminiscent of old Testament. Fueled with high-octane adrenaline, Heavy Metal riffage and aggressive vocals, the tune leaves me breathless – and I consider that a good thing. Classic Metal meets Thrash in the angry and upbeat “Ratcatcher” that brings on a strong main-melody over some ferocious pounding – raw and violent with a punky attitude. Good one. The song is the album’s closing track, however, if you get the digi-pack, you’ll also get the bonus track “Hellbound”, a tune that goes back to early 80’s NWOBHM. It’s heavy and hard-hitting with a distinct melody and the riffage holds vibes of both Dio and Judas Priest. Get the digi pack because this song is awesome and shouldn’t be missed.
I’m not sure what Destruction sounded like back in the glory days and after hearing this record, I’m intrigued to find out. However, I absolutely adore Kreator’s new album and sure, the two albums before that are also really good but I still can’t stand their earlier stuff. Attitude, rage and pure aggression alone just do not work for me. I need melodies and hooks as well – something this album sure enough provides me with, so if Destruction are one of those bands that has become more hook-laden in later days, then maybe their old stuff isn’t for me after all. This album, however, is a damn good one. It’s hard, heavy, raw, distinct and direct – and it takes no prisoners. But they know the importance of striking melodies, hooks and edgy catchiness and they marry it fine with the brutality and aggression. Yes, I’m impressed by this even if it took me a couple of spins before it stuck. Get ready for a beating, folks!
1. Born To Perish
2. Inspired By Death
5. Filthy Wealth
6. Butchered For Life
7. Tyrants Of The Netherworld
8. We Breed Evil
9. Fatal Flight 17