Destruction / Headhunter - _D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. / Parasite of Society_
(Candlelight , 2008)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (7.5 and 7 out of 10 respectively)
Earlier this summer Teutonic thrash icon Schmier resurrected his... -other- metal project, Headhunter. Hmm. Struggled there for a moment: if Destruction is thrash, what does that make Headhunter? Hard to nail that one to the board, not because HH is experimental or esoteric in any way. Hell no, I'd just as soon expect Schmier to start dabbling in Celtic Frost avantisms as I would Vinnie Paul to announce his new folk metal trio.

Anyway, Headhunter, while romping through a host of '80s-nostalgic sounds, is innately traditional to the core. The caffeinated whinny of power metal's galloping rhythms rear their head perhaps more often than anything, but "Parasite to Society" the song is old-school thrash straight out of the NYC rule book, "Remission" is a gothic power ballad flirting heavily with glam, and then -- oh shit -- they seriously break out an entirely unnecessary cover of "18 and Life" that's far too faithful to the original to be transgressive in the slightest... and you know what? Listening to it again (-why-? I ask myself) I'm not even sure Schmier was going for irony at all. The damn thing actually drips sincerity, although that doesn't make it any more listenable. There's something comically hysterical about listening to Schmier just -knowing- in his heart that he's nailing the fuck out of those Basian high notes. But when you're working without a playlist and an unexpected remake of "18 and Life" clips you in the balls without forewarning or preparation, it tends to skew your entire generational outlook, if not the album analysis itself. To wit, "Egomaniac" has a refrain that I could swear keeps repeating "Streets of cabbage, streets of cabbage..."

Ultimately it's difficult to come up with anything new to say about an album that sounds like it was stamp pressed right out of an insta-'80s toolkit. That's not a knock necessarily; the songs are uniformly catchy, but they also possess that kind of beer rattled, willful stupidity that you either have to be drunkenly nostalgic for or maybe a lot closer to your teen years than I am to fully appreciate. I'm giving it a 7, because I think there is a meaningful place in this world for drunken nostalgia.

With _D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N._, the new Destruction album released a mere three months later, it seems Schmier is eschewing the trendy knack to comment grimly on the hellbound precipice the world currently teeters upon. Oh sure, there are apocalyptic overtones galore -- "No One Shall Survive", "Last Desperate Scream" -- but the band project the same enthusiastic glee over the prospect of utter societal collapse as they did back in the Cold War days they cut their teeth on.

The more you listen to _DEVOL_, the more it seems to leave the same psychic imprint as the Headhunter album, with the caveat that _DEVOL_ is more sonically focused on the high energy, mid-paced thrash aesthetic (interestingly though the fastest of the thrash material appears on _Parasite of Society_). In spite of a meatier production advantage, _DEVOL_ seems just as unconcerned about progress as the HH LP, or anything else since _All Hell Breaks Loose_ for that matter. As such, from-the-gut rabbit punches like the call and response chorus on "Odyssey of Frustration" and the manic hyperbolism of "Seven Deadly Sins" are imbued with a pleasing familiarity, but it's that same familiarity that will likely preclude Destruction from ever making an out and out masterpiece. Having traded in the feisty scrappiness of their early years for technical prowess and a less frenzied breed of metal, even the mosh friendly assault of old is a relic at this point. Which is not to say that Schmier and co. aren't turning in fine work in 2008, but for a band that seems to be trying so hard not to churn out _Sentence of Death Pt. II_ they've more or less just given the world _All Hell Breaks Loose Pt. IV_.

Contact: http://www.destruction.de/

(article published 8/1/2009)


ALBUMS
2/25/2011 A McKay 8 Destruction - Day of Reckoning
1/12/2007 Y Stefanis 5.5 Destruction - Thrash Anthems
4/12/2002 M Noll 7 Destruction - The Antichrist
8/12/2000 M Noll 6 Destruction - All Hell Breaks Loose
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