This year the big four of German thrash is proudly being represented by Destruction
. Their twenty twelve release, Spiritual Genocide
, offered a headbanging mix of melodic shredding and explosive thrashing. However the twenty sixteen album, Under Attack
, was less flashy and more dramatic. This new CD comes in a plastic case, with a thick booklet. The album art depicts a two headed eagle, which is symbolic of an empire and it’s surrounded by skulls placed on top of sticks. The centerfold shows a dimly lit photo of the band members having some drinks backstage before a gig. There have been a couple of lineup changes, there is a new drummer, because Vaaver quit the band last year to spend time with his family. They have added a rhythm guitarist, to sport a dual guitar attack for the first time in twenty one years, since The Least Successful Human Cannonball
The album commences with the title track and about thirty seconds worth of introductory grinding and uproarious drum beats. Then the vocalist grimly growls to set the temperament of intensity. The tempo picks up with more grinding, as the lead guitarist shreds at the high notes and the bassist plays hyperactive rhythms. The drummer throws down unrestrainedly, while the vocalist yells with his distinctive tenor voice. “Phantoms and ghosts are declared lords, gods and hosts!” “Creatures of fable can’t manipulate the mortality table!” Schmier is one of the founding members of the band, was fired in nineteen eighty nine and then rehired ten years later. He often displays angry and somewhat grim shouting with a moderate quality of throatiness. The backup vocals are subtle with lower pitched growling that enhances the emotion of the compositions.
The new rhythm guitarist is thirty nine year old Damir Eskic from Switzerland and who is active with Gonoreas
. Mike is also a founding member of the band and is one of the best lead guitarists in the genre. Damir regularly grinds and thrashes, sometimes it sounds brutal or ugly depending on the composition. Mike recurrently plays the more melodic riffs, shredding and high note scrambling solos. The fourth song, Rotten
, proceeds with a mean spirited guitar riff. Then the drummer joins in with brisk melodic beats and the bassist carries onward with a forceful rhythm. The intensity slows down a notch, for Schmier to rant his depraved message. “I am more evil than Satan
, because I’m a selfish prick.” “I will take profit of your goodwill, I take satisfaction of your naivety.” The guitarists thrash at midrange, along with strong bass riffs. There is a blistering hot guitar solo, with expert fret board work towards the end.
The seventh number, Tyrants
of the netherworld, runs with guitar riffs played at the lower notes and bolstered by the bassist. The velocity increases with intricate riffs and a fast array of beat tones. Schmier excitedly growls out his lyrics with a raspy quality. “Ice cold bastards are destroying our planet earth.” “Who made them our leaders?” “Who brought this bloody curse?” Mike shreds melodically, as the bass music chugs at midrange notes and the drummer pounds away with some crossover beats. Schmier also handles the bass duties and Google translator identifies the word schmier as German for lubricating. As a thrash bassist, he plays his instrument more like a guitar. He routinely plays midrange riffs, with some deeper driving and an occasional groove.
The new drummer is fifty five year old Randy
Black from Canada, who has worked with Annihilator
and Wasp. His drumming skills are unequivocal with extremely fast and hard shuffle patterns, mixed with spontaneous snare drum flare ups. In certain arrangements he plays the double bass drums with typewriter speed. The last piece is Ratcatcher, which runs with an explosive guitar hook and impressive drum beat arrangements. Schmier soon cuts in with a brutal bass rhythm, as he emotionally utters his tirade. “Why
can’t I accept the mainstream taste?” “My own volition won’t go to waste.” Then Damir violently thrashes, as Mike shreds in their protoplast of style. The intensity increases with melodic bass chugging and flashy high note guitar picking. “Ratcatcher-identity snatcher, pioneers break the rules.” “Ihe human sense of belonging makes you a follower, a plaything!”
The lyrical content relates to the fickle and primitive nature of human thought. How people follow corrupt clergy and elect world leaders who get out of control. But no one has learned the latter lesson better than the Germans. The first half of the album was more melodic, in terms of shredding and thrashing. The second half was more furious, explosive and brutal. Born to Perish
is a mean and ugly thrash album without any weak songs. But this release isn’t as consistently dynamic as Spiritual Genocide
was. The previous drummer, Vaaver, was a little bit better than Randy
Black in my opinion. This newly added second guitarist isn’t an upgrade, since they’ve done about the same with one guitarist in the past. Overall Spiritual Genocide
is a notch better than Born to Perish
. And Born to Perish
rocks out a lot better than Under Attack