Hard to believe that Destruction have been around in some form or another since 1982, and the German thrashers are about to unleash their 16th full-length album. As part of the holy trinity of Teutonic thrash alongside their adversaries in Kreator and Sodom, their no-nonsense barrage of razor-sharp metal has won them legions of die-hard fans across the globe in that time.
The mid-’80s saw them release some classic blackened thrash and their first 3 albums (‘Infernal Overkill’, ‘Eternal Devastation’ and ‘Release From Agony’) remain essential in any true thrasher’s record collections. After a dodgy period in the ’90s (as with quite a few thrash bands!) they’re still raging and as pissed off as ever in 2019.
Following on from the competent ‘Under Attack’ 3 years prior, ‘Born To Perish’ looks to carry on their momentum and also to expand on their legacy. That it does as a whole is a testament to their hard work ethic…sadly, alas, this album probably won’t see them setting the metal world on fire which probably says more about the metal scene and its expectations today than anything else.
The opening title track is typical Destruction – breakneck riffing and Schmier’s distinctive evil rasp indicating what to expect over the 11 tracks on offer here. Criticism has been laid at the band in the past that their approach can be a little too much ‘meat and potatoes’ in execution and delivery – and at times this can be quite clear but is not always a bad thing. You know exactly what to expect from Destruction nowadays – they may not be pushing the boundaries of thrash but they’re very good at what they do. Which is what matters, right?
To be fair, the first half of the album is standard Destruction – ‘Betrayal’ employs a cool chorus and ‘Rotten’ is a mid-paced, double kick driven stomper that will probably go down a storm at the European festivals. It’s not really until the second half of the album that things get really interesting – ‘Butchered For Life’ is an epic monster just shy of 7 minutes that brings to mind ‘Life Without Sense’ in its feel and tone and that also dares to expand on the Destruction sound. It seems strange to say it sounds a more mature offering given their age but it shows off a side to them that proves they can really write a damn good metal tune when they want. This quality then carries on throughout the rest of the album, including such riff-tastic tracks as ‘Fatal Flight 17’, about the ill-fated MH17 Flight from 2014.
With top-notch punchy production, it’s safe to say that Destruction XVI is another notch in their bullet belt of quality thrash. They’re not slowing down with age, and although some may say they peddle ‘safe thrash’, ‘Born To Perish’ is still an enjoyable album, probably best enjoyed with a beer or 5. These butchers are still mad 37 years on – let’s hope we can enjoy their Thrash Attack for some time yet.
DESTRUCTION – Born to Perish is out now via Nuclear Blast
Catch Neil’s shows on HRH Radio – Full Metal Racket (5pm Sundays) and The C60 Mixtape Show (12pm Tuesdays)