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Thursday, October 16, 2008

CD Review: Destruction - D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.

Destruction - D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.
2008 Candlelight Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Destruction very seldom gets their proper due as thrash pioneers, but suffice it to say, this German juggernaut is a legend, plain and simple. Sure, bassist and vocalist Schmeir (real name Marcel Schirmer) and guitarist Mike Sifringer are the last remnants of the classic lineup that recorded the eighties speed freak beloveds Eternal Devastation, Infernal Overkill, Mad Butcher and Release From Agony. Considering Schmeir wasn't present for a long period of Destruction's career on experimental and sometimes befuddling efforts like Cracked Brain, Them Not Me and The Least Successful Cannonball, this period of internal disintegration is perhaps the reason Destruction has been grossly overlooked by the metal community.

Suffice it to say, Destruction is these days Schmeir's band as he is the principle figurehead, but as a trio (with Sifringer and drummer Marc Reign) in modern times, Destruction is heavier than ever with the same trimmed and precise execution as Motorhead or Rush for their own brands of hard music. The fact Destruction fills so many spaces with only three guys in the band is pretty remarkable. There's very little overdubbing to be found, considering the exquisite technicality Destruction has become known for beginning with Release From Agony.

What you get from Destruction is a sinewy, grinding sound highlighted by a propensity to blindside with pounding velocity and frequently absorbing math prog and their latest album D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. is more of the same, God bless 'em. Though not every song on this weighty effort is an all-out thrash attack, Destruction still has gusto and testosterone on mid-tempo cuts like "Offenders of the Throne" and "Inner Indulgence."

Alright, so D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. may not always leave blazing vapor trails every second of the way, but this sucker rips most of the ride with impressive tenacity on "Elevator to Hell," "Devolution," "Vicious Circle: The Seven Deadly Sins" and "Odyssey of Frustration."

Take note each song on D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. is led by each letter in the album title. That takes a bit of thought, so hats off to Schmeir and his power posse in that regard. An even bigger tip to Mike Sifringer who sounds utterly inspired on this album. His solos are gorgeous and he can still teach half of the axe slingers in the scene today how to properly shred. Schmeir provides some equally rapid low-end fills on bass, but even more striking is his vocals on D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. Did this cat jump into the wayback machine and kick Mr. Peabody out along the way? It's astounding enough you can hear his vocals so clearly, but Lord does Schmeir sound so young and exuberant! Of course, Marc Reign keeps his bandmates on their toes with accurate beat patterns and spiked double-timers in sneaky measures.

Fitting that D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. concludes on the toe-tapping "No One Shall Survive," because it leaves this album on a strident note with its anthemic nature (anthemic by thrash standards anyway) and right after Sifringer jerks out of a pair otherworldly solos, "No One Shall Survive" wraps up with the same determination as if the year was 1988. The difference now is that Schmeir and Sifringer appear to have their act far more together than back then, which only means Destruction has only yet begun to fight.

Rating: ****

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