Destruction – Thrash Anthems II (Nuclear Blast)

Wednesday, 1st November 2017
Rating: 8/10

Destruction re-recording old songs makes one wonder if/when Kreator or Sodom will ever do it, which would be cool, but of course, saturate the idea. Early Destruction albums were understandably raw, especially during a time (the ’80s) when properly recording extreme metal proved to be elusive. Charm and nostalgia or not, Destruction doesn’t appear to be atoning for these production ills, but rather modernizing songs that hold a special place in their illustrious back catalog, hence, the creation of Thrash Anthems II.

Since 2007’s Thrash Anthems I tackled the band’s “hits” (i.e. “Release from Agony,” “Mad Butcher,” “Reject Emotions,” etc.), Thrash Anthems II takes a bit of a deeper dive, hauling out select cuts from 1986’s fabled Bestial Devastation (“Confused Mind”), the following year’s Release from Agony (“Dissatisfied Existence”) and their legendary Infernal Overkill debut (“Black Death”). Singling out certain tunes notwithstanding, Destruction’s agile brand of thrash — forever the two-headed monster of Mike Sifringer’s riff tactics and Schmier’s animated, maniacal vocals — displays its patented blend of thrash gymnastics and heads-down, clear-the-pit action.

Kudos to Destruction for taking a look at 1990’s Cracked Brain, the last of the band’s “glory era” albums, with “Ripping You Off Blind.” A cover of Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia” closes the set, one that gives off the firm impression that Destruction, while forever in second place behind Kreator, have become the working man’s German thrash metal band. And 18 years past their reformation, Schmier, Sifringer and semi-new drummer Vaaver stand as stout as ever, armed with a lauded back catalog and a string of new(er) albums that can hang as well. Thrash Anthems II is more celebratory than anything else, rightfully so.

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