Sentence of Death/Infernal Overkill/Eternal Devastation (Reissues)

I had no idea Germany’s Destruction have been around since 1982-Christ Almighty.  I’ve been a fan since their 1984 Sentence of Death ep.  Guess I’ve lost track of time and I have not followed the band since the 1990 Cracked Brain album.  So this is Part I of my Destruction reissue review series.  Germany’s High Roller Records, who are responsible for some amazing reissues, put out 6 Destruction reissues.  The above 3, which are reviewed here and Mad Butcher, Release from Agony and Cracked Brain, which will be in my Pt II series.  With the reissue reviews I’ll speak about the time period these were initially released, touching on aspects of the release as well as what the reissues contain.

In 1984 I picked up the vinyl debut ep Sentence of Death, by Destruction at my local record store, which I lived at, pretty much every few days, lol.  By this time I was already into all the American thrash metal acts and had started venturing out a lot more to the overseas bands.  This 6 track ep was some pretty straightforward thrash with a lot of Slayer influence, but still containing some musical arrangements I had never heard.  I was just looking for something fast and heavy and Destruction had a dark edge, early on in their career, and that is why I was so drawn to their sound, as well as all the other German thrash acts, during that time period.  I was taken back at first with the cover of the 3 gents wearing their bullet belts, but was drawn to them wearing inverted cross necklaces and I thought-this is going to kick some serious ass.  Because years ago, folks, unless your friend had the release, you bought, basically on a few recommendations, but mainly on what the album cover looked like and the song titles.  So song titles like:  “Total Desaster” and “Satan’s Vengeance” were right up my alley.  After the corny intro that opening of “Total Desaster” was just brutal.  Still impressed how clear Schmier’s raspy vocals were.  The guitar solos were pretty decent and the drumming, by and large was really no frills-nothing to knock you down with, but the music was fast and heavy.

The following year, Infernal Overkill, their debut album, was unleashed and to this day is my favorite release by Destruction.  I had this in every format and eventually the cassette wore out and I picked it up on vinyl.  Production and musicianship was better and Destruction found their sound with Infernal Overkill, the release which shook the underground and garnered them a lot of zine interviews.  From the brutal opening of “Invincible Force’s” drums and then Schmier laying waste with a killer scream-the song was pure thrash metal fury.  “The Ritual” is still my favorite Destruction song, to this day.  My dark lord, not a fast song, but a slow and meaty, heavy number.  Destruction really increased their guitar melodies with this album and on this particular song-one of the best songs from 1985-by and large.  I was drawn to the creepy album cover with the exploding skull and a hand reaching towards it.  It’s really a classic cover.  8 songs in 40”, just one of the most perfect thrash metal albums, ever.

1 year later Destruction released Eternal Devastation-this is the album which cemented Destruction as one of the best thrash metal bands, of that time period.  Many would say this is the best Destruction album and it really is a fantastic album.  However, the band, went for a bit of a cleaner sound and the darker edge of Infernal Overkill, I missed on this record.  However all the songs on Eternal Devastation do show a maturation of what one would expect with a band trying to really break-out.  The opening song, “Curse the Gods” is still one of the best opening thrash metal songs, ever, even if it and the rest of the album had a very strong SlayerHell Awaits inspired sound.  And hell you cannot deny the album cover, of the band members drawn into a tornado circling a city does not look cool as shit.  Very striking cover.  “United By Hatred”-also a terrific song with the monstrous opening with the guitar melodies.  At this point you can also hear some progressive, even polyrhythms, to throw your pathetic body for a loop.

High Roller Records did a real nice job with these reissues.  V.O. Pulver, at Little Creek Studios, is responsible for the remastering and the sound is spot-on, stellar.  I always thought Eternal Devastation sounded a bit thin.  It definitely is more punchy this go around and the remastering on all 3 of these are louder and clearer.  I would venture to say these may be from the original reels, that’s how great they sound.  Each cd is housed in a beautiful slipcase.  The booklets contain pictures, vintage flyers, a poster and lyrics.  All incredible and well put together.  As a stickler for reissues, I was perplexed there was no bonus material.  Huh??  Yep, each reissue has the original songs and nothing more.  I think maybe some live material, on a second disc would have been awesome, but that always costs extra $$.  At the end of the day, these reissues are all amazing.  Pick these shits up!


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
April 2nd, 2019


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