Destruction – Day of Reckoning Review

Destruction // Day of Reckoning
Rating: 4.0/5.0 —Germans do beer and thrash better than you.
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Dates: EU: 18.02.2011 | US: 03.08.2011

Some bands age like fine wine, some like sushi. It’s a fact of life and we see it demonstrated time and time again. Today we examine the shelf life of Destruction. These gents have been around forever and started life as one of the big three of the Germanic thrash invasion of the early 80’s along with Sodom and Kreator. Their early releases were classics and seminal reference points within the genre. After being dead for the better part of the 90’s, they reformed in 2000 and started life anew as part of the reawakened thrash scene. Since then, Destruction proved themselves to be firmly on the wine side of the aging formula and the reunion albums ranged from good to great with none better than 2008’s D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. Here on Day of Reckoning, their eleventh platter, Destruction once again prove they’re seasoned elder statesmen of thrash with no sushi in sight. This is yet another slab of righteous, riotous thrash with tons of hooks and it demands the horns be raised high in homage.

As soon as opener “The Price” starts out, it’s clear Destruction went back to their old school thrash roots and decided to up the aggression a few notches. This is classic, angry, frantic Destruct-thrash like the good old days and it sounds rock solid and mighty pissed off. All the trademark elements of the Destruction sound are here and battle ready. The unique, odd but always uber cool riffing of Mike Sifringer and one of a kind vocals of Schmier sound great and now they’re joined by new drummer Vaarve who acquits himself amazingly well here. From go its furious, thrash-tastic sonic abuse with some excellent song structures and a lot of memorable hooks and interesting musical moments. The first three tracks hit on all cylinders and show Destruction at their rabid best. Later on, “Devil’s Advocate” will draw big smiles from long time fans due to the sudden inclusion of the riff from “Bestial Invasion” (pronounced Bass-tial) off their debut album Infernal Overkill.

The big selling point for Destruction is of course the riffs and Day of Reckoning has a cornucopia of big, infectious, headbanging thrash riffage in every track. Check out “Hate Is My Fuel,” “Armageddonizer,” “Day of Reckoning” or “The Demon is God” for ample evidence, though every track has its moments and hooks. New drum hand Vaarve plays a big role here with a furious but technical performance. He does a lot of little fills and rolls that add to the fun and its clear the guy is a beast behind the kit. What really pushes this over the top is the clever dynamics and tempo changes that litter all the songs. While it’s plenty thrashy, there are little change ups and interesting twists and turns that keep the listener from getting too burned out by the fast pace. It’s rare that a thrash album can manage to keep things 100% interesting from start to finish but the sheer intensity and inventive musicality does just that and things never bog down or become repetitive and every song works.

The production is big, very clear but effective, with a biting, thick guitar sound and very crisp, solid drum sound. Obviously this is light years ahead of the squawky, tinny sound they had on their early albums and while that old production suited their classic sound, this is modern day and their traditional thrash attack sounds just fine with a modern production.

This marauding German horde has unleashed a uniquely Teutonic beat down on the metal masses and this is one of the better pure thrash albums to come along in awhile (joyfully devoid of any core elements whatsoever). These guys are old pros at this style and really seem to be enjoying a renaissance of creativity and thrashing energy. If you like thrash this is essential listening and the best thrash so far this year. Even if you don’t like thrash this may still win you over with it’s style, energy and overall catchiness. Chalk up another big win for those crafty Germans.

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