You all know the story: in the early mid eighties, Germany launched on us a couple of classic thrash metal bands - Sodom, Kreator and, indeed, Destruction. Sodom are still churning out albums more or less on a yearly basis, Kreator are still going strong, and Destruction, well, they kindof lost it when Schmier left the fold. "Cracked Brain" (1990, I think) sucked rock, and two EPs released in the latter half of the nineties also didn't manage to impress much. Destruction simply wasn't Destruction without Schmier.

Around the summer of 1999, the rumour machine started buzzing. The rumours were finally confirmed when, at Wacken Open Air, Destruction played once more in the original line-up (well, part of it, anyway, including Mike and Schmier who really count). Signed to Nuclear Blast, the band started recording their reunion album. The result is the impressive "All Hell Breaks Loose".

The band have successfully managed to capture where they left off when Schmier left. The result may not be the most contemporary thrash metal, but it's recognisably old Destruction, it's technically capable, Schmier sounds like he used to, to cut a long story short it's the album that could (and should) have come after "Release from Agony" (the last studio album with Schmier, from 1987).

I for one don't care about the fact that they pretty much continue where they left off, without incorporating distinguishable new elements in their sound or lyrical content. Destruction, I think, will not become a band that today's new generation of extreme metal fans go all crazy about. It's nostalgia, partly, and cool thrash riffs for the rest.

"All Hell Breaks Loose" contains a dozen tracks, of which several stick out. "Tears of Blood" is cool, "Devastation of Your Soul" can measure itself with any of the old classics, and "Extreme Measures" is a slower, heavier corker of track. "The Butcher Strikes Back" lyrically follows "The Mad Butcher" and is one of the fastest tracks on the album. "World Domination of Pain" is good, too. "All Hell Breaks Loose" also contains a re-recording of "Total Desaster" from their 1984 debut EP, "Sentence of Death". It's pretty faithful to the original, but the drumming is superior.

Destruction's latest is a trip down memory lane for those of us who used to whip around our wild manes in the mid eighties (people who know what I look like will now barely contain their laughter). However, it is also a lesson for the younger generations - a lesson in classic thrash. Negative aspect of the album is that it really ought to have sounded heavier.



Written March 2000


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