The march of time may bring about change, but the memory of those who lived the glory days of thrash metal in the 1980s don’t have to settle for a future that doesn’t possess the music they love, at least if Germany’s own thrash titans Destruction have anything to say on the matter. Having been left with little avenue for touring over the past 2 years due to Covid restrictions putting the economy of Europe at a near standstill, bassist and front man Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer and his band mates were not one to take things lying down, unleashing a pair of impressive live album releases in 2020’s “Born To Thrash” and 2021’s “Live Attack” to keep the masses satiated until a state of normalcy could emerge. But nothing rekindles the metallic flame like new music, and with concert halls now open, some substantial changes have come with this outfit’s latest studio foray.
Though always a pivotal player in the worldwide thrash scene, Destruction has had some occasional moments of utter brilliance committed to recording that can be regarded as genuine game-changers, with 1986’s “Eternal Devastation” and 2001’s “The Antichrist” being the two zenith points. With the upcoming arrival of 2022’s “Diabolical,” another apex point to rival the aforementioned ones, if not surpass them, has been achieved as this insurmountable Teutonic quartet has both turned back the clock 35 years stylistically while forging ahead into the future in the intensity department. Forgoing some of the post-production advancements that make for a more precise sound such as drum quantizing, Schmier and producer V.O. Pulver have opted for a more organic and open approach in line with thrash’s punk roots, and the result is an album that is wholly modern, yet also highly comparable to many of the old school revivalist albums that have been cropping up over the past 15 years.
Far from a mere throwback to older practices bereft of any sense of the present, “Diabolical” presents an updated and upgraded take on the socially conscious yet vicious side of thrash metal that was all the rage back in the late 1980s. Chock full of vertebrae-destroying riffs played at warp speed with impressive dueling guitar lines to rival Judas Priest and Slayer, this is an album that appropriates the raw intensity of the style’s primordial period and marries it to the concerns of the day, be it the influencer culture of social media being lampooned on “Whorification”, a rallying cry to the masses at the end of the Covid lockdowns on “Hope Dies Last”, or a general philosophical statement regarding the current generational divide in “The Last Of A Dying Breed”. And for good measure, those either unaware or faintly so regarding the early hardcore scene’s influence on thrash metal are given a brilliant refresher via an amped up reinterpretation of GBH’s “City Baby Attacked By Rats”.
Though depicted as a fearsome zombie steeped in a sea of toxic waste on the album cover, Schmier proved an affable and eloquent fellow in discussing the behind the scenes workings of Destruction’s latest album. Sonic Perspectives associate Jonathan Smith caught up with him earlier to delve into the mechanics of “Diabolical”’s production, as well as to get his thoaughts regarding the band’s upcoming tour, which will include several dates in the Continental United States, and also the road ahead following 2 years of economic havoc being reaped upon the entire music scene. As metal trustees, we are all called to do our part in supporting our favorite bands as they emerge from the ruins of 2020-2021, and “Diabolical” is more than worth the price of admission.
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