Day Of Reckoning
posted on 3/2011 By:
Destruction is a band that most old timers will tell you hit their creative peak with 1988’s Release From Agony, and they’d in all likelihood say that almost everything released since, while certainly solid enough in places, just doesn’t hit the mark like the thrashtastic material from those first three outings. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve paid little attention to the band since those early days, having only heard a handful of songs from each of the post-Cracked Brain records, and overall what I have listened to has left me unimpressed. I guess Thrash Anthems was relatively fun, though wholly unnecessary, but regrettably that enjoyment lasted for merely a nostalgic spin or two. So when I went into this assignment, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this German thrash metal trio, at least not at this point in their nearly 30-year career. But instead what I did get was a complete and all-out ass-whipping.
The first thing of note right from the get-go on 2011’s Day of Reckoning is the extremely polished production, an aspect of new age metal recording that does indeed turn some folks off, but it’s probably the best sound the band has gotten since All Hell Breaks Loose put them back on the map. It’s modern, it hits brutally hard and it accommodates the exceptional speedy kick and energetic tom work of new drummer, Vaaver (Indukti, ex-Unsun). The man brings an energy to the table unlike what we’ve heard before, and for the most part, his bombastic style injects some new blood into the band. And bassist/vocalist Marcel Schirmer has definitely gotten back to his roots a bit on DoR, bringing a granular, angrier and even more hateful barrage vocally that is reminiscent of those early records. With such a thick, razor-sharp guitar tone accentuating every nuance rhythmically, it ultimately comes down to the riffs, and guitarist Mike Sifringer has brought a shitload to the table.
The ride couldn’t start out any stronger, as scorching opener "The Price" purely crushes with its relentless onslaught of rapid riffage, followed by "Hate is My Fuel", a song that spreads the abhorrence like no other on this beast. The lyrical themes are still very reminiscent of paths the group has traveled historically, with church hating and Christ slamming leading the charge this time, and while some lines become a bit repetitious at times and are admittedly a tad over the top, the revulsion and distaste for all things Christian flows throughout. With its infectious big metal chorus,"Armageddonizer" is a superb track that rounds out a great three-song start to the album. Other personal favorites include "Sorcerer of Black Magic" and the up-front and to-the-point "Church of Disgust".
From there, just about every song is fast as balls, with nary a mid-paced number to be heard. I would have personally liked to have heard a couple slower chuggers like, say, a "Life Without Sense" thrown in the middle somewhere, but again that's just me. My only complaint would be that after seven or eight songs of this, it becomes a bit similar, and with eleven original songs the band could have easily dropped a couple, like the uninspiring and lazy title-track, the repetitious "The Demon is God" and outright clunker of a closer, "Sheep of the Regime". One shining moment at the end is the band's homage to the late, great Dio with a version of the man’s “Stand Up and Shout” tune, done with taste and class.
At the end of the day, even though some will gripe about it, the production is top of the line, and the playing is as flashy as it gets when it comes to thrash. There are some great songs on this album that rank up there with some of the group’s best, and this is an album the band should be very proud of. If you’ve enjoyed the group's evolution since Schirmer rejoined the fold then you’re sure as shit to be pleased with the majority of the songs on Day of Reckoning. This album reeks of pure, authentic viciousness and outright destructive fury through and through. They’re certainly not gonna change it up or try and reinvent the wheel at this point, but Destruction is still grinding the axe, and they've released one of their finer albums in recent years.
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