Somewhere within the deep recesses of my metal-blackened heart there's a little room - a closet perhaps - where you will find a variety of old bands that I grew up with. Possessed, Abattoir, Destruction, Sodom, and no doubt a few others. It's pretty crowded in there. As I am the owner of that particular metal-blackened heart, it makes it difficult to review arguably inferior recent material by any of those bands I hold in high esteem. I am going to do my best here, though. Maybe I'll succeed.

When Destruction reunited a few years ago, I have to say that was some very good news. Schmier back on vocals and bass, what more do you want? They even did a tour, which I missed because I was on a holiday in Greece with my unfortunately-soon-to-be-ex-wife. The reunion album, "All Hell Breaks Loose", was definitely much appreciated by me. It contained enough of the old Destruction while still succeeding in being sufficiently up-to-date. Well, that's what I thought, anyway, and you know the problems I have with the occupants of that little closet in my heart.

With "The Antichrist", the release of which I awaited with genuine anticipation, I am afraid the balance has tilted back. It has, in fact, tilted back to the lesser tracks of old Destruction. What you have here is a CD filled with generally OK tracks that tend to be especially vocally unchallenging, basically Schmier screaming the song title a lot of times.

I should tell you that it hurts to say these things of my former heroes, but the new album just isn't what I'd hoped it would be. "Thrash 'Til Death" and "Bullets from Hell" are good tracks, as is the closer, "The Heretic", but other than that it's just, well, okay. With tracks written by the guys who also did "Mad Butcher", "Invincible Force", "The Ritual", "Bestial Invasion" and "Black Death", tracks that I will forever bang my head to, that's simply not enough.

If I tell you that the 'hidden track' (12 to 65 are empty, and 66 is a re-recording of "Curse the Gods") is actually the best one, that should give you a fair indication of what the album as a whole is like.



Written August 2001


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