Destroyer 666 - WildfireLet me make my bias clear from the start: Deströyer 666 are my favorite band in the world. Not my favorite black-thrash band, not my favorite metal band, but my favorite band, period. Ever since discovering 2002’s Cold Steel… For an Iron Age, I’ve been a salivating fanboy for the group’s infectious melody, ripping thrash riffs, and triumphant progressions that develop into hooky, memorable songs which – unlike so much other extreme metal out there – never obfuscate themselves in a haze of incomprehensible fury or aimless blasting. Originally from Australia and now U.K.-based, the group was formed by mainman ‘K.K. Warslut’ after leaving Bestial Warlust in 1994, and went on to release some of my favorite metal of the last 20 years: 1997’s rollicking debut Unchain the Wolves, 2000’s landmark Phoenix Rising, 2009’s hugely melodic Defiance, and a slew of terrific EPs. Through it all, K.K.’s blackened snarl has continued spitting out intelligent, fist-pumping lyrics about war, nihilism, and Jungian philosophy, along with ample references to wolves and even amusing personal outbursts (“I think I’m a wolf, then again I’m fucking crazy!”). Deströyer 666 are metal-to-the-bone, the gold standard by which I judge other music, and the greatest crime one can commit is dismissing them based solely on their over-the-top moniker.

Unfortunately, they’re hardly prolific, with their newest material being 2010’s See You in Hell EP. After guitarist Shrapnel departed in 2012, I was worried K.K. would party himself to death before we ever saw a fifth album, but I was wrong – Wildfire is here, and these crazy Australians have once again delivered an album of top-tier black-thrash, quivering with raw energy and containing some of the most memorable extreme metal you’re likely to hear this year.

Opening duo “Traitor” and “Live and Burn” showcase this vigor right from the start. Tearing through frantic predatory riffs, shout-along choruses, and scorching solos, the tracks are as strong as anything the group has ever written, with “Traitor” even featuring an awe-inspiring thrash break whose colossal feel recalls modern Asphyx. Afterwards, Wildfire pulls a Powerslave with instrumental third track “Artiglio Del Diavolo,” a three-minute foray of adventurous leads that prove a pleasant breather early in the runtime.

As the record continues, it’s clear “Diavolo” isn’t the only classic heavy metal influence here. Straight-ahead thrasher “Wildfire” and late highlight “White Line Fever” show K.K. adopting a gruff Motorhead-style shout in some sections, with “Fever” even featuring some bellowing clean vocals in its back half. Similarly, early standout “Hounds At Ya Back” – which has steadily risen on my list of greatest Deströyer 666 songs ever – delivers on the monumental tension of its verses with a viciously melodic refrain, worked into an Eastern-sounding riff that recalls a better version of something from Assaulter’s Boundless. Even “Traitor” opens with an air-siren scream that reeks of 80s charm.

Destroyer 666 - 2016

Given K.K.’s vocal appreciation of bare-bones heavy metal, these developments are hardly surprising. Fortunately, they also haven’t hampered the group’s knack for mixing boots-on-the-ground thrash with more grandiose, epic moments, like those on closer “Tamam Shud.” Akin to Defiance’s finale, “Shud” combines soaring, graceful guitar-work with acoustic strumming and pagan clean vocals that recall the finer moments of Bathory’s Hammerheart. It’s a terrific conclusion – but unfortunately, not all this diversity works. Penultimate track “Die You Fucking Pig” is a fairly lame and forgettable blaster, while “Hymn to Dionysus” feels like a solid track that never achieves its full potential. The overall result is an album with a powerhouse first half and a second half that – despite some great tracks like aforementioned “Fever” – never reaches the same heights. Additionally, with the lackluster “Pig” and atmospheric “Shud” serving as the closing duo, the last great ‘normal’ track is “Fever” – ten minutes before the end of Wildfire’s 39 minute runtime. Taken as a whole, it’s still an great record, but one more song on the level of “Live and Burn” near album’s end would have unequivocally established it as an Album of the Year contender.

Fortunately, Defiance’s brickwalled production woes have been rectified, with a raw, spacious mix that richly layers the swirling solos and whooing backing vocals, calling to mind the mix on Macabre Omen’s latest album. And while I doubt Wildfire will achieve my #1 year-end spot like Omen‘s did, it’s still a terrific addition to an already great discography, successfully incorporating fresh classic metal elements and sure to overjoy fans of bands like Desaster and Absu – not to mention critical-minded die-hards like myself. Rejoice – the wolfpack is finally back, and they’re as hungry as ever.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Website: facebook.com/destroyer666page | destroyer666.bandcamp.com | destroyer666.uk
Releases Worldwide: February 26th, 2016

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  • Iliast

    True return to form. Such a great album! Thanks for the awesome review.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Yep. This.

  • Lasse Momme

    That right there is some god damn tasty ass lead guitar. Really looking forward to this

  • lennymccall

    Streamed it all yesterday. It’s truly glorious! Looking forward to spending a lot of time with this album soon.

  • Francesco Bordoni

    Nothing says KULT like umlauts, 666s and dead hörses.

    Never heard of these guys, but holee jumping fuckin christ that embedded track is SICK. Good stuff – also great review!

  • groverXIII

    There may be some lame song titles, but this album is still pretty damn good.

  • I am really digging this! I cant wait to hear the whole album!

  • Lasse Momme

    Jesus Christ Mark…. Jesus Christ! Hounds might just be the best fucking mid tempo thrash banger I’ve heard in 10 years. That main riff so god damn cool!

    • Mark Z

      I agree, ‘Hounds’ is incredible. My friend isn’t even a fan of the band and I got her hooked based on that song alone!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Along with Urgehal, another great band I’ve never heard. I sometimes feel like the character from Calvino’s If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler….(http://www.goodreads[dot com]/quotes/92194-in-the-shop-window-you-have-promptly-identified-the-cover)

    • Iliast

      You are more like a character from t zero…

      • Monsterth Goatom

        That’s another book I have to read.

    • Iliast

      Also, you can grab the first three Urgehal digital albums for $3 from Agonia right now.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Whoa, sweet. Thanks!

        • Iliast

          To be clear, I can’t find legal downloads of Arma Christi or Massive Terrestrial Strike.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I have them! :)

          • Iliast

            I AM JEALOUS.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I’m quite proud of my Ureghal collection.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        That’s acrually awesome.

  • kmal666

    This makes me happy, I loved Phoenix Rising and though Cold Steel never really did it for me, they have a solid discography.Will check this out.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I have yet to hear it, but isn’t “White Line Fever” a Motörhead cover?

    • Iliast

      Nope. Definitely a paean to the original, but very, very different song.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I haven’t listened post-Phoenix 666 too much. But I streamed this album a couple o’ times and bopped my head along to it with a smile of satisfaction.

  • Asral

    Nice review :)

    While I recognize the name, I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard them before. That embedded song is pretty awesome, I really have some catching up to do here!

  • RU63

    Aren’t these guys racist? Pretty sure they have links to that Nazi crowd. I saw them once (opened for Behemoth) and a bunch of Nazi skin heads were doing salutes to them while they played. Defiantly not supporting these guys. Only other time I saw that kind of behavior was at a Down show … go figure.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      That’s pretty bad and not true I hope.
      The nazi arseholes may just have been a bunch of losers at the gig not necessarily anything to do with the band or their material?

      • RU63

        A quick internet search will answer your questions about this band.

    • AfterbirthCircus

      Yes, they are. Warslut seems to have calmed down over the years, and the racism’s a lot less explicit now than it was on “Unchain the Wolves”, but it’s still there. I haven’t taken a look at any of the lyrics for this latest release, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find some really gross lines.

      And it’s a shame too; Destroyer’s a really solid band, and what i’ve heard of Wildfire sounds like some of their best stuff yet.

    • Mark Z

      In some early interviews there were some questionable remarks about the album cover for Unchain the Wolves representing the “spirit of the white man” (the cover itself is a white wolf standing over a brown deer), along with a few lyrics that hint at that ideology (most notably “I’m not ashamed to be white!” from that same album). That said, the band has never aligned themselves with the NS movement or made overtly racist statements in their lyrics or interviews.

      • thiR

        Well… maybe the PC brigade loves white guilt… But D666 doesn’t. No one should be ashamed of his/her origins. There is a big gap between not being ashamed of being white (most white people) and being proud of it (a small minority). D666 doesn’t seem to cross that line.
        Plus Australia is ridiculously PC in the cities. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more of a kind of “fuck you” attitude than anything else.

        • RU63

          In my opinion, I don’t think having a “fuck you” attitude makes it ok to promote/support racism.

          • The Wolf

            But are they doing that? What proof do you have other than a single lyric from one song on the first album? That nazi idiots sometimes attend their shows? Slayer get that and no one thinks anyone in the band are nazi sympathizers.

        • Reese Burns

          I don’t think anyone ‘loves’ white guilt. Plus supporting racism isn’t a “fuck you”, it’s just racism.

          • thiR

            Sure. But I fail to see what is racist in saying “I’m not ashamed of being white”… Especially in a song called “Australian and Anti-Christ” starting with KK saying “Fuck you! Fuck yooooouuuu!”.

            It seems many “progressives” love white guilt. To them you’re guilty of some kind of original sin just because you’re a white cis male. I kinda see the parallel between those and the crazy christians… Except that the crazy christians are saying that all mankind commited an original sin and should repent, they aren’t racist/sexist about it.

        • Human

          There is a tremendous difference between being unashamed of one’s skin colour and openly glorifying the “white pride” movement, name-checking Skrewdriver spin-off bands on your thanks list etc.

      • RU63

        It’s too bad the Nazi community heard those remarks, and read those lyrics; I don’t think D666 will ever shake them now . . . unless they make a video for one of their songs while wearing NWA hats, like Axel Rose did ;)

    • d666fan

      Who fcking cares?

  • William Hebblewhite

    great fucking album. been a while since Ive listened to Destroyer but they are just as brutal as ever

  • Luke_22

    Great album, pure metal gold and fully agree Hounds at ya Back is a classic tune.

  • Wolfpack? Wasn’t that copyrighted by Watain?

    • thiR

      Fuck Watain. They are a bunch of sissies and don’t deserve the title. :P

  • Derek Robins

    I have not heard of this band. What would people say is their magnus opum for me to check them out? What would you recommend Mark Z?

    • Mark Z

      I started with Cold Steel which is probably one of their most accessible albums and provides a good sample of every element of their sound. That said, myself and a lot of others seem to regard Phoenix Rising as their magnum opus, which is also fairly accessible and was their first album where they really perfected their sound.

  • TminusEight

    Now that’s what I call an album cover! Hell yeah!!

  • SegaGenitals

    Cover reeks of badassedness

  • HMG

    Perfectly OK!

  • Dobbie03

    Love these guys! Great band.

  • TminusEight

    This is just fucken amazing

  • Dead1

    Album of the year so far!

  • Requiem

    Wow… First time since Septicflesh’s Vampire from Nazareth that I’ve been converted by a single song… I’m currently mid-way through a massive scramble through all the 4.0 reviews on this site, bookmarking the bands I’m most intrigued by. I did the same for the 4.5s over the past couple of weeks and plan to do so for the 3.5s soon.

    There is a genuinely terrifying amount of great music on planet Earth, and it’s wonderful.