Destruction – “Under Attack” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Destruction. One of the cornerstones of German thrash metal – and still attacking viciously! When I first heard their “Sentence Of Death” EP back in 1984 it was yet another blood drenched slab of metal meat to feed my own ravenous appetite for bands pushing the boundaries of extreme metal. Of course, it wasn’t called that then as terms like ‘black’ and ‘thrash’ metal were only just getting known but bands like Destruction would blaze a path in sound and image followed by many later. Still with bassist / vocalist Schmier (aka Marcel Schirmer) and guitarist Mike Sifringer, Destruction went on to build the legend, becoming increasingly thrashy along the way until the end of the 80s whereupon Schmier left. Mike soldiered on through the 90s as “Neo-Destruction” but upon the return of the famed frontman at the turn of the century, Destruction have not just enjoyed a second lease of life, but arguably have become even more popular! “Under Attack” is their 14th album and very little has changed to the band’s frantic core sound which to the uninitiated may seem baffling, yet to the hordes who like their music untainted by commercialism and experimentation, is essentially the essence of Destruction’s success and longevity. Of course it goes well beyond speed and power, although Schmier and Mike still have plenty of that, despite being in their late 40s. Monster hooks and deep thrash beats that reach into your soul are the base on which Mike’s dexterous guitar is unleashed. Like a tornado this guy is a one man riff machine, relentlessly churning out licks and wild solos along the way such that this duo have never needed an extra axe, just an endless supply of drummers to keep up! Currently in the hot seat is Wawrzyniec ‘Vaaver’ Dramowicz who fulfills that task superbly with his endless double bass pedal work, but also enough technicality to add versatility to the music. Likewise, Mike has evolved from being just evil and thrashy to include heavy metal and even some bluesy sounds into the material, which even has the odd quiet passage here n there. Riotous thrashers needn’t worry though, there’s no wimp out in sight – just check out the apocalyptic riff to ‘Dethroned’ that takes me right back to “Infernal Overkill” while on ‘Stand Up For What You Deliver’, which is about self worth and pride, Destruction show their maturity lyrically as Mike’s extended solo twists and turns like a snake on fire. Ending ferociously with ‘Stigmatized’, you can literally hear Schmier gouging at the strings to his bass, and even if his voice nowadays sounds a lot like Mille Petrozza from Kreator, that’s hardly a sell out from these German kings of speed.