Destruction – Live Attack (Album Review)

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The Teutonic titans thrash the entire internet.

With nearly 40 years under their belts, it can be safely stated that Destruction has solidified their status as elites of the thrash metal pantheon. The storms of disapproval from polite society and the changing fashions of subsequent decades has done little to dampen their fire-born spirit, so it is all but stipulated that the near 2 year long lockdowns in response to the Covid pandemic would not see this band of mad auditory butchers remaining silent. But even the most experienced of veterans in the live setting face a unique challenge in translating the riff-happy pandemonium and frenetic fervor of their studio craft into something equally formidable when the sounds of the audience are absent. Yet undaunted at the task of projecting their raw, unfettered metal sensibilities through the World Wide Web, Destruction would deliver a grand performance of classics both new and old at the very dawn of 2021.

The aforementioned live streaming event has now been made available for the entirety of the metal masses in the form of a double CD and Blu-ray release dubbed “Live Attack,” and true to its name, this 2 hour long undertaking constitutes a veritable bombardment of heavy artillery across multiple continents. With an eye to efficiency, front man and bassist Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer would take few occasions to speak directly to the virtual audience in between chunks of the set, but the degree of enthusiasm in his performance went well beyond the rehearsal-like feel that often typifies online streaming events. The twin guitar attack of co-founder and riff maestro Mike Sifringer and his shred happy counterpart and newcomer Damir Eskic (whom also handled the acoustic work adorning several of the longer offerings included) would prove an exercise in chaotic precision, while the thunderous battery of Randy Black’s kit work could have shaken every computer speaker tied to the performance despite a somewhat dry sounding mix.

Given the lack of extensive touring due to the restrictions that have dogged the performance medium since March of 2020, the selection of songs lent itself a bit to the show being an extended continuation of the previous tour of “Born To Perish” that would birth the previous 2020 live record “Born To Thrash”. Familiar offerings from the album in question would be prominent fixtures of the event, with the gripping opener and title song “Born To Perish” functioning as both a haunting overture and the first fast-paced kill session. Other selections from the latest LP such as the mid-paced crusher “Rotten” and the rapid fire with a slight rocking feel “Inspired By Death” would prove no less compelling, and the dissonant evil at light speed that was their rendition of “Betrayal” took several occasions to showcase the rhythmic chops of Randy Black and the blazing fret board gymnastics of Eskic. Similarly styled recent offerings such as the riveting title offering from 2016’s “Under Attack” and the driving aggression of “Armageddonizer” off 2011’s “Day Of Reckoning” would also make and leave an impression upon the online audience’s respective vertebrae.

“Live Attack” Album Artwork

Then again, for all of the newer fanfare to grace this event, a slight edge would ultimately be given to the older classics that account for this release’s extended length. The noted primordial anthem from Destruction’s mid-80s speed metal debut EP “Total Desaster” and similarly archaic thrashers from 1985’s “Infernal Overkill” such as “Invincible Force” and “Bestial Invasion” hearkened back to the days when the Teutonic sound was just beginning to emerge from the Bay Area influence of Slayer, while still being appropriately dressed in the more compressed and massive character of the band’s current sound. Darker fair off 1986’s “Eternal Devastation” such as the punchy cruiser “Curse The Gods” and the harrowing march of “Life Without Sense” would also be proficiently realized in this outfit’s current sonic context, while the show would ultimately be stolen by the more nuanced and multifaceted character of the “Release From Agony” inclusions, with the tech happy “Sign Of Fear” being the apex of a consistently unrelenting medley of metallic fervor.

The scope of the performance itself and the correspondingly extensive nature of the release format that it results in might prove more of a niche product reserved for only the most stalwart of Destruction’s core fan base, but the quality of the performance itself, especially given the lack of an audience to beef up the atmosphere, is something worthy of any old school thrasher’s consideration. Given the lack of availability of the old fashioned approach to delivering the goods to the concertgoer, this is an impressive feast of aggression to fill the void, and may well prove to have staying power even as venues begin to open and heads proceed to bang in real time. It might fall a tad short of an essential purchase for every single follower due to its close proximity to another prominent and well-put-together live album, but those with an endless appetite for thrash in its more chaotic form will find a filling banquet here, not to mention a final glimpse at Sifringer tearing it up given his recent exit from the band he co-founded.

Released By: Napalm Records
Released On: August 13th, 2021
Genre: Thrash Metal

Musicians:

  • Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer / Bass, vocals
  • Damir Eskic / Guitars
  • Randy Black / Drums
  • Mike Sifringer / Guitars

“Live Attack” Track listing:

 1. Born To Perish
 2. Death Trap
 3. Nailed To The Cross
 4. Armageddonizer
 5. Tormentor
 6. Rotten
 7. Mad Butcher
 8. Reject Emotions
 9. Thrash Till Death
10. Betrayal
11. Sign Of Fear
12. Damir’s Shred
13. Inspired By Death
14. Release From Agony
15. Life Without Sense
16. Antichrist
17. Invincible Force
18. Under Attack
19. Bestial Invasion
20. The Butcher Strikes Back
21. Curse The Gods
22. Total Desaster
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8.5 Excellent

Minus the crowd noise but no less formidable in the auditory carnage department, the most accessible adherent of the Teutonic thrash trinity brings an epic live stream performance to the market with the fury of a thousand suns

  • Setlist 8.5
  • Musicianship 9
  • Performance 8.5
  • Production 8
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