Destructor – Blood, Bone, and Fire (Shadow Kingdom Records)Friday, 24th November 2023
Ohio veterans Destructor still seem content to churn out a headbanging cocktail of power, thrashing heavy metal through this fifth full-length studio record Blood, Bone, and Fire. An active part of the Cleveland, Ohio movement from the mid-1980’s, they’ve made it through tragedy losing bassist Dave Holocaust in 1988 and Pat Rabid in 2018 – mainstay members vocalist/guitarist Dave Overkill and drummer Matt Flammable moving forward with second guitarist Mark Hellhound and bassist Tim Hammer rounding out the current lineup. Their debut album from 1985 Maximum Destruction and follow-ups like their 2003 EP Sonic Bullet plus Decibel Casualties (the most recent effort from 2017 on Pure Steel Records) still light the fire in this scribe’s metal soul, so it’s always great to catch up on the latest offering from these gentlemen.
The name of the game is a lean, mean, fist to the face sound – riffs that are as tough as steel, impactful vocals to match, and a rhythm section that can perform at any tempo that matches the main feel delivered for the track on hand. It’s not hard to see looking at titles like “Heroic Age” or “Iron Clad” what you will get as far as tones, attitude, and muscular might – the title track blistering the landscape first with crunchy rhythms, NWOBHM-oriented guitar accents, as well as tempo shifts that go from speed/thrash mania to standard heavy metal triumphant fare. Often people worry that veterans who have been a part of the scene since the 80’s may not keep a pulse on the current production values to capture their sound properly – but that’s not the case for Destructor. Songs like “Storm Upon the World” and speedy, progressive gunslinging “The Calling” instrumental contain the tenacious resolve to appeal to those who love classic Metallica, Overkill, Judas Priest, or Iron Maiden just as easily as they could younger contemporaries such as Evil Invaders or Angelus Apatrida.
Sword clashes, reverb spots, hefty doses of double kick maneuvers, proper gang-chorus support when needed – all this and more exists against the normal musical proceedings that keep the eyes on a full-throttle odyssey that doesn’t quit on you until the final dual guitar / bass syncopation to fade out passage for the fine closer “Domination”. Destructor understands their legions of followers spread across continents, despite deserving a larger audience for their collectively consistent high-quality discography. Blood, Bone, and Fire epitomizes the strength of the genre, hopefully inspiring musicians young and old to raise the bar for the greater good of all.