Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Destruction - Spiritual Genocide

Do the title and art even mean anything?

Why are you doing this, Destruction?  I used to worship the ground you walked on.  Once upon a time you were my favorite German thrash band (though to be fair this was before I'd listened to more than a handful of Sodom songs), and what are you guys now?  Shells.  Giant walking husks of what you used to be.  And that's weird, because I feel like you've been gliding along on the still warm layers of ejaculate from fans after releasing your testament to why thrash can still be relevant and incredibly fucking good in the new millennium with The Antichrist eleven years ago.  You've been coasting along on that gooey success for over a decade now, and apart from the ironically titled D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. you haven't done shit to distance yourself from the formula set on that thundering megalith from 2001.

I'll stop addressing the band now, and start addressing you, the fans.  I'm one of you, Release from Agony was the first German thrash record I'd ever heard, and the cover art alone was enough to stick with me for the rest of my life.  From the Sentence of Death EP to the legendary Live Without Sense, Destruction unleashed six straight releases of naught but the purest thrash metal run through a filter of unique riff writing and unmistakable vocals that made them all instantly recognizable as Destruction records.  Once per year, we were treated to another slab of their unique style of Teutonic tenacity, with the only weak link being that their guitar tone was about as heavy as a toothpick until 1989 (one of the reasons I consider Live Without Sense to be one of the few essential live albums in heavy metal history).  From there hey had their well known departure of frontman Schmier, the decent Cracked Brain, and then the infamous mistake known as Neo-Destruction.  Finally Schmier returned and then NAILED TO THE FUCK-KING CRAWSS.  Okay well All Hell Breaks Loose came first but that seems to have been completely forgotten since The Antichrist was so ludicrously good and helped the whole "retro thrash" thing get its start in a way (I mean, it doesn't sound anything at all like what we've come to know as retro thrash (neo thrash at the time), but along with M-16 is did show that the style was still relevant and not career suicide to play).  Since then we've just gotten The Antichrist five more times except without any stellar standouts.

Apart from maybe "Devolution", "The Price", or... uhh, I dunno maybe "Metal Discharge", there haven't been any standout classics like "Thrash til Death", "The Heretic" or fucking "Nailed to the Cross" in over a decade.  The band's 77th release, Spiritual Genocide is no exception.  The only track that stands out in any way is "Riot Squad", and even then I can't tell you why it does.  I guess the riffing is just a bit punchier than the rest of the album, just a little more straightforward and stripped down than the otherwise frantic finger flailing the band is usually known for.  "To Dust You Will Decay" has a cool chorus and "Under Violent Sledge" is good too, but again I'm not sure why since it sounds exactly like every other song on display and still has nothing on the monsters I've mentioned from The Antichrist.  Destruction's style of manic, technical riffs that are incredibly complex for their style are on full display and are just as good as anything else since the turn of the century, but there's nothing you haven't heard about 67 times by now since then.  It's frustrating because the members are all still talented and technically proficient, but their songwriting has fallen into less of a rut and more into something akin to the Marianas Trench.

Honestly, this is the same career path I foresee Goatwhore taking.  The songwriting is so one-dimensional nowadays that there's nothing to be excited about when it comes time for a new album to drop.  Spiritual Genocide, like its predecessors (Except for D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N., I have to point out that album at least stood out for the successful addition of more groovy elements (that they immediately stripped away on the next album in favor of just doing what they'd already been doing for a decade)) is about as creative as macaroni art and put together about as haphazardly.  There's no pacing to the album because it contains one idea spread so thinly across ten tracks that you can barely tell there's anything on your bread.  Let's say a jar of chunky peanut butter symbolizes all of the ideas the band has had over their career.  For the last five albums, they've been picking out one chunky nut and trying to spread that and that alone over their toast.  The songs are all interchangeable and ultimately worthless in the grand scheme of things.  The punchy production is identical to the last handful of albums and the songs are the exact same technical riff vehicles they've always been, but it's less enticing than ever before because nothing sticks.  If you throw your cream cheese bagel at the wall and see that it sticks, you can't just keep throwing it there because eventually you'll run out of cream cheese and it'll just flop helplessly off the wall. 

What I'm saying is that Destruction needs more cream cheese, lest I find myself giving even less of a shit about the next album.  If you're a die hard fan who has loved the last five albums just as much as their early material, then by all means this is for you.  If you're like me and starting to get bored with hearing a dead horse being beaten with another dead horse, then you can safely skip this one, you won't be missing anything.

Also, "Legacy of the Past" sucks really badly.  They literally tried to rewrite "Thrash til Death" using the exact same gimmick of using classic album titles as lyrics.  Go home Destruction, you're drunk.

RATING - 39%

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