The Curse Of The Antichrist - Live In Agony
posted on 12/2009 By:
To quote the source, "Destruction strikes back… A devastating thrash attack…"
As a partner in the holy trinity of German thrash alongside Kreator and Sodom, Destruction's career arc has followed that of their brothers. Like both of those bands, Destruction started strong in the early 80's, releasing some undeniably brilliant thrashing madness, and like those two bands, they stalled out a bit in their middle period, making some line-up changes, getting dropped from their label and in turn dropping some uninspired records that did little to uphold their legacy. Like Sodom and Kreator, Destruction managed to right their ship in the new millennium, releasing several stout (if arguably not untouchable) records within the last ten years. They also seem determined to not let a calendar year elapse without a new release of some kind. To fill the 2009 slot, having already given us a DVD and a disc of rerecorded classics, Destruction now brings us a live album, their second of the decade.
Compiling the band's 2007 performance at Wacken Open Air with a more recent performance in Tokyo, The Antichrist - Live In Agony features a host of vintage Destruction gems ("Curse The Gods," "Bestial Invasion," "Death Trap") alongside newer tunes like "The Butcher Strikes Back" and "Thrash Til Death," which appears twice. As an added bonus, the Wacken set features guest appearances from Blitz of Overkill, Angelripper of Sodom, Oddlief of Communic and Peavy of Rage, all of whom join the band on a vicious run through "The Alliance Of Hellhounds." For long-time supporters, there’s even more of a bonus: the band recently passed the twenty-five year mark, and to celebrate that anniversary, they’ve set up a Destruction family reunion. The second-disc medley of "The Antichrist / Reject Emotions / Thrash Till Death" sees former drummers Oliver Kaisel and Sven Vormann returning to bash the skins alongside current drummer Marc Reign. After that, former drummer Tommy Senmann pops in on vocals for "Total Desaster," which also sees the return of former guitarist Harry Wilkens.
I’ve never seen these guys play in person, but based on these two sets, I’d say it’s safe to call Destruction a pretty ripping live act. For only three guys, they certainly pack a solid wallop. Their songs are as tight and tightly chaotic on stage as on the initial releases—the old tunes have aged well, and all the tracks, both new and old, rock like hell with the infused energy of the live setting. Mike Sifringer’s guitars are razor sharp, and Schmier’s voice sounds like…well, Schmier… with his trademark banshee wails still sounding like they did in 1986, punctuating his gravelly thrash snarl with bloodcurdling highs.
The only surprises in this hour-and-a-half long set are in the guest appearances, but Live In Agony leaves nothing to complain about in any capacity, aside from that some long-standing fans will likely have a song or two that should’ve been included in place of a song or two that shouldn’t have. When all is thrashed and done, even as it serves well as a retrospective, Live In Agony is a live album, with all the pros and cons that come with that, and its place in your collection is determined by your need for live versions of many of Destruction’s finest tunes. Still, Destruction is legendary for a reason (or several), and killer songs and spirited performances like this are definitely the lion’s share of how they’ve managed to make it for twenty-five years. Not mandatory, but worthy.
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