Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Destruction - Spiritual Genocide

It’s surprising how much Destruction has gone under the radar lately. Ever since the release of Inventor of Evil in 2005, you don’t really hear a whole lot about them in the media or anything, which is unfortunate because they’re one of the few old school legendary thrash metal bands that are still great. Well, Nuclear Blast Records made sure to do A LOT of promotion for Day of Reckoning before its release in 2011, so that was something that a lot of people heard about. But the majority of the people that I’ve talked to had no idea that since Inventor of Evil, the German thrash masters have released four albums, including their new one, Spiritual Genocide. Not even an entire year after the release of Day of Reckoning, Destruction is back with another full-length that I wasn’t even aware of until three months after it was released. But nevertheless, here it is, Spiritual Genocide.

The thing that lots of thrash metal bands have done is lost energy. And it’s not just that they’re not as heavy as they were back in the 80s and 90s, you can literally feel an exhausted, worn-out vibe in some of these band’s recent albums (i.e. Anthrax, Tankard, Venom, Megadeth, etc.). And it’s sometimes really difficult to listen to these types of albums coming from the bands that released Rust in Peace, The Morning After, and other timeless classics. But Spiritual Genocide is proof that Destruction is far from losing any amount of energy. I personally thought that the brutality and energy that Day of Reckoning brought was ridiculous for a band as old as Destruction, but here they are, less than a year later, with another record just as creative and heavy.

Destruction doesn’t spend very much time fucking around with different styles and other shit like Overkill and Exodus have been doing. Destruction has kept their music raw, pure, and heavy as fucking hell in the same way that Slayer has done. So what you should be expecting is a lot of speed, a lot of really fast double-kicking, and a lot of simple guitar riffs. But the guitar work on Spiritual Genocide is much more interesting than other similar records you might hear. The guitar solos are very colorful and are each strikingly unique. Even the simple guitar riffs are consistently keeping you engaged because the riffs almost always end up not being what you expected. It seems that age has induced wisdom in this band because everything about the guitars that I have a problem with when it comes to new thrash metal bands is solved on this album. In order to keep guitar riffs from growing repetitive, the guitarist either starts playing the same riff in a different key (something I would like to hear more often in this genre because it really intensifies the music) or just completely changes everything altogether.

The vocals can get a tad bit irritating after a while, but that’s only if you’re not a huge fan of the really high-pitched yells (I’m not too keen on them). Even though that may be true, the vocalist does a PERFECT job of matching the intensity of his vocals with the intensity of the music. Also, something that I know the vocalist has experimented with in the past is being used in every song on this album. The vocalist takes his signature yells and overlays it on deep growls. And to be honest, it sounds really cool; because other bands that have done this absolutely butcher it due to not having the right-sounding voice (not exactly their fault). In songs like City of Doom, To Dust you will Decay, Carnivore, and Under the Violent Sledge, the addition of the growls act as the perfect element to lower the intensity and increase the brutality of the music. So this is definitely something that we will be hearing from these guys in the future.

It’s important to have one or two breaks from all the intensity on a thrash metal album, even if it’s not a complete break and not that long. That’s the one thing that this album is missing, because after I’m finished listening to it, I’m mentally drained from the constant bombardment and speed. But from another perspective, is that really a bad thing? But if they threw in a song or even a section of some more melodic stuff; that would make Spiritual Genocide a complete thrash metal record. But regardless, this is proof that Destruction are still going at full force and are still at the top of their game. If you’re not aware of this album, listen to it; it’s an album that NEEDS to be heard. I’m going to give Spiritual Genocide a high score of 17/20.