Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: November 23, 2012
When the going gets tough, the tough gets thrashing. That seems to be the key to success and the sheer awesomeness that so many old thrash bands have stuck to. Destruction is not excluded. Well some bands age like fine wine, some like sushi. It’s a fact of life and we see it demonstrated time and time again. Now looking at the shelf life of Destruction, these gents have been around forever and started life as one of the big three of the Germanic thrash invasion of the early 80s along with Sodom and Kreator. Their early releases were classics and seminal reference points within the genre. After being dead for the better part of the 90s, they reformed in 2000 and started life anew as part of the reawakened thrash scene. Since then, Destruction proved themselves to be firmly on the wine side of the aging formula and the reunion albums ranged from good to great with none better than 2011’s “Day of Reckoning”. With “Spiritual Genocide”, their twelfth studio platter and 30th anniversary offering, Destruction once again prove they’re seasoned elder statesmen of thrash with no sushi in sight. This is yet another slab of righteous, riotous thrash with tons of hooks and it demands the horns be raised high in homage.
The bands front man and bassist, Marcel ‘Schmier’ Schirmer, released this statement with the record: “For the anniversary album, we’ve really knuckled down big-time – we’ve never been so fast, brutal and groovy before!” With“Day of Reckoning“, the band reverted back to pure kick ass Thrash with little in the way of experimentation.“Spiritual Genocide” takes it to the next level. This German trio, which also includes guitarist Mike Sifringer and new drummer Wawrzyniec ‘Vaaver’ Dramowicz (trying saying that name ten times fast!), is cutting out the fat even further and focusing down on music.
In the opening seconds of “Cyanide” we can already hear that Vaaver is going to be laying down some fast and crazy drum work throughout this album. As you proceed through the record, it’s clear Destruction went back to their old school thrash roots and decided to up the aggression a few notches. This is classic, angry, frantic Destruct-thrash like the good old days and it sounds rock solid and mighty pissed off.
However if one listens closely to tracks like “Renegades”, “Spiritual Genocide” and later parts of the album, one notices how wide the range of tempos and moods actually is. The big selling point for Destruction is of course the riffs and “Spiritual Genocide” has a cornucopia of big, infectious, headbanging thrash riffage in every track. Check out “City of Doom”, “Under Violent Sludge” or “Riot Squad” for ample evidence, though every track has its moments and hooks. During the song “Legacy of the Past” one looks back on the career, with great vocal guest appearances from Andreas ‘Gerre’ Geremia (Tankard) and Tom ‘Angelripper’ Such (Sodom). Ol Drake of Evile fame also lends some delicious solo moments to the record.
The production is big, very clear but effective, with a biting, thick guitar sound and very crisp, solid drum sound. Obviously this is light years ahead of the squawky, tinny sound they had on their early albums and while that old production suited their classic sound, this is modern-day and their traditional thrash attack sounds just fine with a modern production.
There is not a song on this release that is not completely memorable and worthy of putting on your ‘best of’ playlist for the band. Sifringer is in a pretty good shape and his performance as mentioned earlier is flawless. His guitar leads shred (as do Ol Drake’s), and new drummer Vaaver attacks with a precision tightness and timing rarely seen outside of a Swiss watch factory.
Schmier seems to have upped the ante on the catchiness of his vocal work, with plenty of parts to scream and sing-a-long with. It’s as if everything is just catchier on this album and it allows it to rattle around in the head long after the album has finished. No filler just makes it better, right?
Thrash might be only strengthening in the last few years, but it’s the older bands like Destruction that are still forging the ways for what the genre is and will be. Three decades into the band’s existence, Destruction still shows no obvious sign of aging or slowing down which is basically a testament to the band´s authenticity and drive. They have taken their lumps, they have returned from the backlash of an entire decade, and they are still writing tunes that pound most thrash initiates into hamburger.