Written by: EW on 25/08/2008 00:53:49

Thrash may have made a return of late but there are some that never gave up on it in the first place, and you can safely count on Germany's Destruction being included in anyone's list of such bands. In a complicated back-catalogue, the band that gave the world the untouchably brilliant "Sentence Of Death" EP, "Infernal Overkill" and "Eternal Devastation" LPs from way back in the day ('84, '85 and '86 to be precise) return with their 10th studio album overall in "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.", named as such by the order of the first letter of each song on the album. Since bassist, vocalist and all-round Metal cool dude Schmier returned to the line-up for 2000's "All Hell Breaks Loose" the band have not exactly been insulting the name of their '80s classics but nor in my opinion have they ever gotten even close to equaling them. A thankless task, you can say in the eyes of many, and a dilemma many 80's thrash acts have had to face.

Whereas their last 3 LPs proper ("Inventor Of Evil", "Metal Discharge" and "The Antichrist" working backwards in time) have lacked any real greatness, meandering along in a state of pure thrashness whilst blinkered in their ability to look outside the box, "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N." shows greater experimentation and diversity in its 48 minutes, hinting an old dog can learn new tricks after all. Destruction may hardly be re-inventing the wheel, and Schmier would take that as a compliment believe me, but the opening 30 seconds or so of opener "Devolution" sound so much like it could be from an Opeth album its scary. In all my years of Destruction-appreciation I've never known them to have such a side to them. Album highlight "Vicious Circle - The 7 Deadly Sins" gives a primetime example of my feel for a slightly re-invigorated Destruction on display, as guitarist Mike Sifringer shows off his undoubtable guitar chops more effectively than at any point recently with greater feeling in his solos. The tone and feel of the song in general suggests of a band more willing take a look at what made them legends in the first place. For those with a fetish for the sound of '80s Metal, a shameful act I must admit to partaking in at times myself, anyone who's been listening in the 21st Century will know Destruction don't have that magic quality that made their old material so catchy and simply fucking brilliant. They do, however, sound powerful and enigmatic, but with the enclosing technology of many studios these days, more like their Teutonic brothers in Kreator and Sodom than ever before.

On a more positive note though, riffs are better structured than on the last few albums with increased melody in the likes of "Urge (The Greed Of Gain)" that has seen the band pick up a hint of Pantera strangely enough in this and "Inner Indulgence". Schmier has always sounded totally unique with his high-pitched screams and he doesn't let up here, continuing his uncanny ability to sound positive and happy (!) whilst spitting out lyrics of anti-religion and political bile. Let's face it, when aliens come to Planet Earth in year 2317 with the intention to sample the finest in Teutonic Thrash Metal, a highly conceivable proposition in my unbiased view, they will not be given "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N." over "Eternal Devastation". However "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N." is a step in the right direction from "Inventor Of Evil" and will propel the much-loved Destruction's name further into the minds of the newest generation of thrashers because, clearly, anyone who calls themselves by such a term will already be aware of the gems in these legend's vaults.


Download: Devolution, Urge (The Greed Of Gain), Inner Indulgence
For The Fans Of: Kreator, Sodom, Dew-Scented
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 29.08.08
AFM Records

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