December 29, 2019

Griffin - Flight of The Griffin (1984) ⚓

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 1984-1988 Steamhammer
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Like the mythical beast that inspired their name and graced the cover of this 1984 debut album, Flight of the Griffin, San Francisco's Griffin was something of a rare, almost mystical creature within their native habitat. While the majority of their San Francisco Bay Area brethren were busy formulating the nascent thrash metal style (bands like Metallica, Exodus, Forbidden Evil, and the Legacy, among others), the members of Griffin clearly looked up to the more traditional heavy metal tenets and sword and sorcery themes handed down by British powers such as Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Iron Maiden. That's not to say that Flight of the Griffin lacked for modern metal sounds, though, or even thrash's energy -- just its punk-based rawness -- and this is why it has since gone down as an American proto-power metal classic, chock-full of enthusiastic anthems like "Hawk the Slayer," "Judgment Day," "Traveling in Time," and the title track. Even the scant weaker songs on offer ("Fire in the Sky," "Hell Runneth Over") were eventually rescued by the reliably stunning fretwork of guitarists Mike Jastremski and Rick Cooper, who were probably also responsible for getting the album released through the shredder-loving Shrapnel Records. In any case, Griffin's "unique" style in their hometown unfortunately caused them to miss the proverbial thrash metal boat where fame and popularity were concerned, and after Jastremski defected to upstart thrashers Heathen the following year (to be their bassist, of all things!), the group never really recovered. The remaining members of Griffin still managed to cobble together one more LP, but 1986's Protectors of the Lair turned out terribly disjointed and disappointingly subpar when compared with Flight of the Griffin

tags: griffin, flight of the griffin, 1984, flac,

Griffin - Flight of The Griffin (1986) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Speed Metal
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1986-1988 Steamhammer
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Heavy metal, like all forms of rock & roll, is capable of achieving great genius and great stupidity in equal measure -- sometimes simultaneously! Don't try to understand it; just call it "magic" (Ronnie James Dio would!) and know that no album better illustrates this magical conundrum than 1986's Protectors of the Lair, the sophomore effort by San Francisco metal heads Griffin. Based on the evidence at hand, it would seem that the band (recently hobbled by the exits of some key personnel) got so caught up trying to explore a series of convoluted concepts historical ("Eulogy of Sorrow/Awaken"), religious ("Curse the Deceiver," "Truth to the Cross"), fantastical ("Hunger," "Tame the Lion"), and metaphysical ("Infinite Voyage") that the music composed to support them simply dissolved into an incoherent mess, when not resorting to dated heavy metal clich├ęs. OK, so some of the above flashed momentary glimpses of the majestic metal talents displayed on Griffin's stellar debut, Flight of the Griffin (usually during Rick Cooper's marvelous guitar solos, as well as his acoustic conclusion for "Tame the Lion"), only now these served as stark contrasts exposing the surrounding failures. Cap it all off with a very shoddy production job, simply not befitting the (failed) musical ambitions at hand, and it's no wonder that Protectors of the Lair was the straw that broke the Griffin's back and sent this once promising band into an early grave.

tags: griffin, protectors of the lair, 1896, flac,

December 28, 2019

The Nation of Ulysses - 13-Point Program To Destroy America (1991) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Hardcore
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1991 Dischord Records
AllMusic Review by Brandon Gentry
A raging collection of songs preaching an ideology of insomnia, teenage rebellion, and sharp dressing, the Nation of Ulysses' 13-Point Program to Destroy America comes across as a blueprint for the complete overthrow of adult society in favor of one ruled entirely by the cool kids. Nearly every track on the album is played at breakneck speed, and the overall message is one of uprising. "A Kid Who Tells on Another Kid Is a Dead Kid" and "Cool Senior High School (Fight Song)" extol the virtues of kids sticking together to exclude those not fit for the glorious new society, namely grown-ups and squares. All the songs are punk gems, and after a couple of listens the revolutionary rhetoric starts to sounds pretty damn exciting, maybe because it's not entirely clear whether or not the Nation of Ulysses is serious or just playing a joke on all the indie rock hipsters. Either way, it's hard for anyone to not enjoy songs like "Look Out! Soul Is Back" and "Today I Met the Girl I'm Going to Marry." The revolution might not be here quite yet, but when it comes, be sure to have this album as proof to your worthiness.

tags: the nation of ulysses, 13 point program to destroy america, 1991, flac,

The Nation of Ulysses - Plays Pretty For Baby (1992) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Hardcore
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1992 Dischord Records
AllMusic Review by Blake Butler
This is genius. This is a revolution, of both thought and sound. The Nation of Ulysses is unmatchable by any band ever; they have created a dialectic, a movement, and a youthful assault of the mind and senses. Like Greek to a Caucasian child, most will never understand even partially the spirit that lurks in these movements for it is about something higher than mere music. There is something that moves beyond the lingoes of "The Aspirin Kid" Ian Svenonious, the complicated scriptures that fill the liner notes, the infamous reputations of insane and overwhelming live performance. A warped hybrid synthesis of trashy garage rock, spastic jazz, and creative freedoms. Languages created and swallowed amidst the words and discordant melodies. Full of fervor, anger, wit, and remorse. Solid spastic percussion, swirling distorted guitars, droning bass, and swollen horns. Rambling exploding vocals spitting words of animosity and love, of rebellion and unity, of awakening and medicine. The Nation of Ulysses must prevail.

tags: the nation of ulysses, plays pretty for baby, 1992, flac,

The Nation of Ulysses - The Embassy Tapes (2000)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Hardcore
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© 2000 Dischord Records
AllMusic Review by Blake Butler
The Nation of Ulysses were seminal in a modern way, transcending easy definition. They obviously affected many bands, both in their body-shattering live performance reputation (mimicked by acts such as At the Drive-In and XBXRX) and in their rambling sonic attacks and flawless revolutionary songwriting. Nothing can touch the unending spout of energy and passion contained within their movements, as their cacophonous passion was put into the ridiculous, the childish, the pure. The Nation of Ulysses disbanded in 1992 after a short career that produced two full-length albums, and many people continued to romanticize the band, creating an underground cult following that has continued to spread partially via post-NOU projects of the band members, most notably the Make-Up and the Fucking Champs. Fortunately for listeners, a few of the NOU's later tracks written after their last album, Plays Pretty for Baby, were recorded inside the comfort of the Embassy, the band's group home. Although their second guitarist, Steve Kroner, was absent, these tapes still contained the everlasting youthful explosion of the NOU, including arguably some of their most well-written songs, such as "A.P.E. Embassy" and "Hex-Proof," and some reworked versions of their older songs, including "Shakedown" and "Last Train to Cool." Although the tape quality was quite low due to the volume of the music and the subpar recording process, The Embassy Tapes still commands an obvious value -- a remaining trace of the much-loved, much-adored Nation of Ulysses.

tags: the nation of ulysses, the embassy tapes, 2000, flac,

Arid - Little Things of Venom (1999) ☠

*Belgian first pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: Belgium
Language: English
Genre: Alternative Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1999 Double T Music
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
As applied to music, the word "arid" means lifeless. One assumes that the Belgian rock quartet who adopted Arid as its name intended the more popular climatic definition, meaning lacking in moisture. (Probably they are unaware that Arid is also a brand of deodorant.) Or maybe they just meant to be ironic, since Arid's music is neither dull nor dry. On the contrary, it is dynamic and works up quite a sweat. The group develops compelling repeated musical figures on which the basic rock instrumentation is often augmented by a string quartet or other instruments, and then lead singer Jasper Steverlinck emotes over them, his rich tenor, which occasionally suggests U2's Bono or Van Morrison. It can be stirring stuff, though as you listen more closely to what Steverlinck is singing (or follow along on the lyric sheet that takes up nearly all of the CD booklet), you may begin to wonder what he's so upset about. Love comes up frequently, but the singer's English as a second language lyrics can be impenetrable even when they aren' t awkwardly constructed. "She'll soon fled the town," he tells us in "World Weary Eyes," and in "Me and My Melody" asks, "Do you fail to understand what is heartily now?" Well, now that you mention it ...

tags: arid, little things of venom, 1999, flac,

December 27, 2019

Various Artists - Pretty In Pink (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1986 A&M Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook
As the auteur of post-punk suburban adolescence, director John Hughes appropriately enhanced his '80s movies with relatively harmless new wave soundtracks. Where earlier films like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles included the occasional Wang Chung or Simple Minds track, though, 1986's Pretty in Pink boasted a full lineup of "rock of the '80s" highlights. Foremost, of course, is the Psychedelic Furs' breakout remake of their 1981 college radio favorite "Pretty in Pink"; while it pales in relation to the raw and electric original, this new version still holds up even with some added horns and a general glossing over of the once hard-driving guitar and drum parts. Even better are tracks by OMD ("If You Leave"), Echo & the Bunnymen ("Bring on the Dancing Horses"), and the Smiths ("Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"). These era-defining sides certainly help make lukewarm additions like New Order's "Shell-Shock," INXS' "Do Wot You Do," and Belouis Some's "Round, Round" easy to get through. And for more marginal new wave fare, there's Jesse Johnson's Prince-inspired "Get to Know Ya" and Danny Hutton's pop/rocker "Wouldn't It Be Good." Topped off by Suzanne Vega's respectable reworking of her hit "Left of Center," Pretty in Pink qualifies as one of the more relevant youth culture soundtracks.

tags: various artists, pretty in pink, the original motion picture soundtrack, ost, soundtrack, 1986, flac,

Shades Apart - Eyewitness (1999) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre:Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
Style: Power Pop
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1999 Universal Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
In the five years between their debut album and 1999's Eyewitness, it's obvious that Shades Apart have learned how to write consistently catchy melodies. Eyewitness is a little too polished to be a straight-up punk rock record, and it sounds a little too indie to fall into the generic post-grunge category -- it falls somewhere in between. But even if they aren't exactly treading musical territory that's uncommon for the '90s, what matters most is that the band has written a strong set of songs, and that's ultimately what pushes the record over the top.

tags: shades apart, eyewitness, eye witness, 1999, flac,

December 26, 2019

Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless (2000) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grindcore
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 2000 Hydra Head Records
AllMusic Review by William York
"High-concept grindcore" may strike some as a contradiction is terms, but that may be the best description for The Inalienable Dreamless, Discordance Axis' third full-length. From the DVD-style packaging and the cryptic booklet design on through the thoughtful, literary lyrics (which reference authors Joseph Conrad and Phillip K. Dick, among others), it is clear that much thought and effort went into this release. As for the music itself, the key word is "fast." Drummer Dave Witte sets the pace with his relentless blastbeats and hyperactive fills, which swerve through all sorts of shifting rhythms and non-standard time signatures. The guitars, meanwhile, are consistently angular and dissonant, in this sense sharing at least as much in common with progressive metalers Voivod or fellow New Jerseyites Dillinger Escape Plan as they do with grindcore fathers Napalm Death. Topping off the guitar and drums (the band doesn't use a bassist) is a dual vocal attack that mixes shrill, abrasive shrieks with more sporadically used intestinal grunts, which make a fitting match for the music. The album packs 17 songs into an exhausting 23-minute running time, which despite being well short of "true" full-length status, is really the ideal length for this type of music. Apart from the fittingly named "A Leaden Stride to Nowhere," a lurching, stop-and-start-filled song that is the slowest and longest one on the album, it is difficult to pick out standout tracks. That is not because the songwriting is weak, but because the overall pace and volume are so unrelenting. The songs do distinguish themselves with repeated listens, and are in fact quite complex and intricate, but the real draw here is the rush that comes from the music's sheer speed and the jagged-edged noisiness. Those looking for soothing sounds or catchy melodies will not be pleased with this album, but for connoisseurs of intelligent grindcore and noise in general, it can be safely recommended.

tags: discordance axis, the inalienable dreamless, 2000, flac,

Rotten Sound - Abuse To Suffer (Limited Edition) (2016)

*Contains 18 tracks total.
Country: Finland
Language: English
Genre: Grindcore
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© 2016 Season of Mist
Review by Tyler Hersko for Metal Injection.net
EPs tend to get lost in the mix, especially during a year overflowing with great music, but that absolutely shouldn’t be the case with Rotten Sound’s superb Suffer to Abuse. The Finnish grindcore heavyweights latest release might be a bite-sized offering, but Suffer to Abuse’s brevity matters little when the seven songs displayed here are so consistently excellent and replayable.
Rotten Sound kicks things off on an absurdly strong note with “Privileged” and “The Misfit,” which are classic grind in the best possible sense. Frontman Keijo Niinimaa’s throaty screams smoothly shift from slower, deep roars to manic-paced screaming, while the backing instrumentation, which boasts sprinkles of technicality that enhance the otherwise in-your-face intensity, appropriately compliments both styles.
Those nuances are subtle enough to be practically imperceptible for the first 10 or so spins, but it doesn’t take an in-depth analysis to get a major kick out of what’s sure to be a couple of 2018’s best grindcore songs. That’s a helluva way to open a record, and while the rest of the EP doesn’t quite maintain that impeccably high standard, Suffer to Abuse’s following five songs aren’t far behind in quality.
While the slower “Stressed Mess” and “Nutrition,” the EP’s longest tracks, offer something of a breather from the otherwise blitzkrieg pace, both pieces are still plenty heavy in their own right. “Nutrition” is particularly pummeling, thanks to its sludgy, winding guitar riffs that are perfectly boosted by the faintest hint of bass licks.
Elsewhere, Suffer to Abuse is full of the comparably straightforward, albeit sufficiently pummeling and enjoyable, grind. A handful of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bits such as Niinimaa’s especially depraved roars in the latter half of “Harvester of Boredom” and the false ending in the excellent midsection of “Slaves of Lust” help elevate Rotten Sound’s strong but undeniably safe grind material.
Admittedly, nothing on Suffer to Abuse is reinventing the genre, and genre skeptics are unlikely to be converted by anything here. Still, it’s hard to complain too much when the music displayed here is of such consistently high quality. We’ve probably all heard something like this before, but Suffer to Abuse’s little variations and aforementioned highlights more than make up for the lack of groundbreaking innovation.

tags: rotten sound, abuse to suffer, limited edition, 2016, flac,

December 24, 2019

Solomon Grundy - Solomon Grundy (1990) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1990 New Alliance Records
AllMusic Review by Richard Foss
The sole album by Solomon Grundy was originally called Stone Soup and Other Stories, and the name survives on the original LP: side one is called Stone Soup, side two Other Stories. It seems likely that the two sides were cut at different recording sessions or at a different time, since the Other Stories tracks have a slightly different character than their predecessors. The first six tracks are lively proto-grunge, musically interesting but constrained by Van Conner's limitations as a vocalist. The thundering bass and guitar over pounding drums are invigorating and the snappy time changes come just often enough to make it work as hard rock with a pop edge, but Conner is just not a powerful singer. He is best when his bandmates fill in with primitive harmonies, as in "Quiet Sea" and "Simplify." The songs on side two are somewhat more inventive, have a greater stylistic variation, and show greater promise. If Solomon Grundy had stayed together and toured behind this record, they could have broken through in a way that Screaming Trees never did; "My Mind" could have been a hard rock hit and the odd, ragged punk-folk "One Day" must have sounded great in concert. There are plenty of hints on this album that Solomon Grundy might have been a chart-topper rather than a footnote in Seattle scene history.

tags: solomon grundy, solomon grundy album, 1990, flac,

The Quireboys - Homewreckers & Heartbreakers (2008)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 2008 Jerkin' Crocus Promotions
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: the quireboys, homewreckers and heartbreakers, 2008, flac,

Xentrix - For Whose Advantage? (1990)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 1990 R/C Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: xentrix, for whose advantage, 1990, flac,

Destruction - D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. (2008)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 2008 Candlelight Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Back in 1982 -- when Destruction's original lineup was formed in L├Ârrach, Germany -- a 26th anniversary was probably the last thing on the band's mind. But sure enough, Destruction celebrated their 26th anniversary in 2008, and even though they have had their creative ups and downs along the way, they deserve credit for longevity. This 2008 release, it turns out, is one of Destruction's more consistent efforts. Quite often, these German headbangers have been hell-bent for speed, but D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. isn't as speed-obsessed as some of their albums. Speed is definitely an important part of the equation; there is plenty of thrashiness on D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. (this is a thrash metal/speed metal band, after all), although the material seldom comes across as speed for the sake of speed or velocity for the sake of velocity. And on D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N., Destruction's material is mildly technical at times. Nonetheless, this 48-minute CD always manages to sound like a bone fide Destruction album; Destruction's identity remains intact on scorching, balls-to-the-wall items such as "Last Desperate Scream," "Elevator to Hell," "No One Shall Survive," and "Offenders of the Throne." No one can accuse Destruction of maintaining the exact same lineup for 26 consecutive years, but the personnel changes they have had along the way haven't prevented Destruction from continuing to sound like Destruction. While D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. falls short of essential, it is certainly decent -- and longtime fans will be happy to see that they can still pack a brutal wallop after 26 moshing years.

tags: destruction, devolution, 2008, flac,

Destruction - Day of Reckoning (Limited Edition) (2011)

*Contains 1 bonus track. 12 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 2011 Nuclear Blast
AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman
Destruction were the most traditionalist of the big three German thrash bands: where Sodom and Kreator headed in a punkier direction, frequently aiming for pure aggression at the expense of melody, Destruction always retained a classic metal feel. They wanted audiences to mosh, but they also wanted to write songs with memorable choruses and heroic guitar solos. They've continued to do that for over 25 years, with founding bassist/vocalist Marco Schirmer's (he left for a decade, but nobody likes to talk about those years) hoarse shriek the perfect counterpoint to the band's downtuned, percussive riffing. This album is an excellent example of 21st century Destruction, up there with early-2000s releases like The Antichrist and Metal Discharge, and much better than, say, 2005's mediocre Inventor of Evil. The songs have the churn of a truck in low gear, proceeding relentlessly uphill before the inevitable frantic, skidding slide down the other side. The lyrics may not be all that memorable, but with track titles like "Hate Is My Fuel," "Armageddonizer," "Sheep of the Regime," "Sorcerer of Black Magic," and the like, you pretty much know what you're getting: a little bit of angry political ranting and a little bit of rote occultism, all set to tribal-meets-punk drumming and grinding guitars. Longtime fans of these guys will be very pleased that after nearly 30 years (they originally formed in 1982), they're every bit as powerful as they ever were.

tags: destruction, day of reckoning, limited edition, 2011, flac,

Destruction - Spiritual Genocide (Limited Edition) (2012)

*Contains 2 bonus tracks. 13 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 2012 Nuclear Blast
Review by Ray Van Horn, Jr. for Blabbermouth.net
Thrash legends DESTRUCTION were veritably reborn in the early 2000s, yet 2005's "Inventor of Evil" made people care about them again. Since then, DESTRUCTION hasn't so much as turned to behold the decimation left in their vapor trails. They just keep rolling. Fortunately for DESTRUCTION, nobody thinks much about their oddball numbers "Cracked Brain", "The Least Successful Cannonball" and the "Destruction" and "Them Not Me" EPs except to groan in reflection before limbering up their neck muscles for anticipatory headbanging. Thus we'll leave Schmier's inexplicable brief ejection in 1989 and the band's temporary downfall as anomalies.
For their 30th anniversary, DESTRUCTION celebrates with a vengeance on "Spiritual Genocide", one of the fiercest and rhythmic albums they've ever laid down. Considering their last album, "Day of Reckoning", still feels like yesterday, "Spiritual Genocide" could've gone down in flames as a rush job. However, a large reason for "Spiritual Genocide"'s relentless popping pistons is the addition of new drummer Wawryzyniec "Vaaver" Dramowicz. Vaaver's metrical feels for thrash and groove turns good material into nearly-spectacular. He's the Godzilla of double hammer on the title track and "Under Violent Sledge". Thus "Spiritual Genocide" is a cleaver-swinging party for not only The Mad Butcher, but for Schmier and Mike Sirfinger, who might've only released a staple album without this hefty upgrade behind their backs.
"Cyanide" nearly over-exerts itself in its SLAYER-esque agitation, while "City of Doom" unmistakably sounds like "Rust in Peace"-era MEGADETH. Otherwise, the remainder of this album is pure Teutonic carnage as DESTRUCTION's fans have come to depend upon them to deliver. Mike Sirfinger's shredding acumen is understated throughout this album, but his bridges and dizzying solo segment on "City of Doom" are melted-down happy pills. Then Sirfinger's note-crazed solos on the title track serve as reminder he's as good as anyone on speedy six string.
"Spiritual Genocide", "Renegades", "No Signs of Repentance", "Riot Squad" and "Under Violent Sledge" wallop at nearly every turn and the pace is pressed with scant time to breathe. Only on "Carnivore" and "To Dust You Will Decay" does DESTRUCTION bother to slow down. Still, there are sorties of swiftness blasting throughout "Dust", while the mid-tempo smack of "Carnivore" allots for a gnarly solo sequence that projects nearly as loud as Schmier's housewarmed shrieks and ralphs.
"Legacy of the Past" may come off like a creeper, but it quickly asserts itself into higher gear and in true spirit of its namesake, it rings of the "Release From Agony" and "Eternal Devastation" days. We can assume it was even recorded in analog and touched up digitally in spots since it carries down-tuned whispers behind the projection to give it an old-school feel. To kick up the fun factor, Tom Angelripper of SODOM, Andreas "Gerre" Geremia from TANKARD and Ol Drake from EVILE join in the frivolity. All this cut needed for a proper alumni kick was Mille Petrozza of KREATOR sidling up to the Butcher's cutting board. Nevertheless, "Legacy of the Past" is almost as fun as the all-star packed "The Alliance of Hellhoundz" from "Inventor of Evil".
The initial press reaction to "Spiritual Genocide" has been mixed and those are just the spoiled times we're living in. So much has been recorded in metal at this point, a reliably heavy band such as DESTRUCTION is held accountable for the minutest imperfections or potential squanders. Contrary to some opinions, this album hardly squanders. Had "Spiritual Genocide" followed "Release From Agony" or "The Mad Butcher" EP, it would've been held in immediate regard. The fact an album this meaty, defined and brutal is subject to scrutiny seems pretty goddamned weird.

tags: destruction, spiritual genocide, limited edition, 2012, flac,

December 23, 2019

Destruction - Release From Agony (1987)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 1987 Steamhammer
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Destruction - Cracked Brain (1990)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 1990 Steamhammer
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Destruction - The Least Successful Human Cannonball (1998)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Groove Metal
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© 1998 Brain Butcher Compact
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Destruction - All Hell Breaks Loose (2000)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 2000 Nuclear Blast
Review by Matthias Noll for Chronicles of Chaos.com
Reunion time again. Be it public interest, money or whatever that has spawned the resurrection of the legendary German thrashers, it might not be financially dangerous for anybody involved (quite the contrary, I assume), but I think at least Destruction's own legend and credibility is at risk. The Germans and their label have done their best to raise expectations to a high level: producer Peter Tagtgren, references to the days long gone with bullet belts, coloured contact lenses (where are the inverted crosses?) and song titles like "The Butcher Strikes Back". With the release of this record it's time to look behind the hype and let the music do the talking to show what Destruction have to offer in the third millennium. First of all, this album, musically, is not a return to the style of the three classic releases _Sentence of Death_, _Infernal Overkill_ and _Eternal Devastation_. The retro factor is kept to a minimum. Decide for yourself if that's what you want; I give them loads of credit for not playing it safe. While opener "The Final Curtain" is propelled along by a typical Destruction riff, their year 2000 style is far more complex, less straightforward and fast than one might expect. Every song features loads of riffs, breaks, tempo changes, pre-chorus and bridge sections, and that's my main gripe with _All Hell Breaks Loose_. Less technicality would have resulted in more power and ultimately better, more cohesive songs. Too many of Mike's impressive riffs start to grab you by the throat and unfortunately the next break for the sake of adding another break is only seconds away. While the first half of this record is strong enough not to suffer too much from excessive complexity, later tracks "Visual Prostitution" and "Kingdom of Damnation" are hardly more than filler material, and I think it's no coincidence that the OK-ish remake of "Total Desaster" is placed on position 10 in the track list to regain the listener's attention. In general, _All Hell Breaks Loose_ reminds me a lot of the complex thrash metal Forbidden delivered on their later albums like _Green_ or, to a certain degree, the instrumental style of Nevermore on their more thrashing tracks. Adding up to this, Schmier's highly improved vocal delivery also does sound a lot like Forbidden vocalist Russ Anderson, and when listening to this record for the first time the moments where his voice sounds familiar are more rare than one might expect. Of course Tagtgren has given "All Hell Breaks Loose" a good sound, but it's definitely not superior to the rather samey Abyss jobs of late (Sunlight/Morrisound syndrome revisited?). Overall this is a decent record, featuring professional musicianship, five or six good tunes without a real standout track, and I would recommend this to fans of technical thrash metal as well as long time Destruction lunatics. On the other hand, I have to say that bands of the fifth or sixth wave of thrash metal like Defleshed have learned how to outshred their idols and I don't see anyone giving _All Hell Breaks Loose_ another spin in a couple of months after the initial Destruction-reunion bonus has worn off.

tags: destruction, all hell breaks loose, 2000, flac,

Destruction - Metal Discharge (2003)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 2003 Nuclear Blast
AllMusic Review by John Serba
Destruction may be one of the progenitors of the German thrash metal movement of the 1980s, but Metal Discharge -- an awful title that unwittingly and humorously implies a particularly painful symptom of some unnamed, fictional disease -- the group's third album since re-forming in 2000, sounds painfully dated and disappointingly one-dimensional. Sure, the toothy riffs come appropriately fast and furious throughout -- always one of Destruction's strong points -- but every song is a borderline-annoying buzz of double-time tempos, relentlessly busy guitar work, and tunelessly barked vocals (backed by gangland-style chants, usually reiterating the song title in a deluge of eyeball-rolling obviousness). Point being, these hyper-thrash polkas get tiresome over the course of 40 minutes, regardless of the professionalism of their presentation, and the poker-faced delivery of multiple clich├ęs during cheesy cuts such as "Rippin' the Flesh Apart" and "Historical Force Feed" (?) borders on nonsensical. Destruction has certainly built an impenetrable fortress of riffs here, but attempting any kind of siege on Metal Discharge (snicker) seems silly, and a bit pointless.

tags: destruction, metal discharge, 2003, flac,