Home > Music > Destruction – Eternal Devastation (1986)

Destruction – Eternal Devastation (1986)

Another thrash metal effort from 1986. This one doesn’t try to be half as brutal and nasty as Pleasure to Kill (or even Obssessed by Cruelty by Sodom) did. It’s still fast and aggressive, mind you, but much of its efforts are towards ornate instrumentation and other technical things. Think about it this way – while Kreator’s aforementioned album assuredly influenced bands like Death and Pestilence, this one probably names things like Artillery (who had an album out in 1986, and whose vocalist was asked to join this band at one point) and Coroner as its descendants. Its general formula is even apparent on recent bands’ releases, such as those of Vektor. In short, if Pleasure to Kill was half-technical, this is 100% technical by the standards of 1986. Not much that can come close in terms of difficult instrumentation from this year, although there was this up and coming act called Megadeth whom, while having less complicated riffs, played consistently more notes per minute…
Honestly, it comes down to the riffs. Destruction’s guitarist at the time (Mike Sifringer) was in the habit of putting all sorts of fills and ornaments on his guitar riffs, giving the band a trademarkable, manic sound. He was also particularly good at stringing together the riffs he wrote, so every song seems to be in the ‘right’ order. Arguably, “Life without Sense”, the band’s anthem to the disabled and handicapped is the best example of this. Most of the riffs in this song really aren’t that special, even by Destruction’s standards, but the order they’re arranged in just works so well that it doesn’t matter. When the riff glue is used on a better set of riffs, though, things get impressive. “United By Hatred” is the high point of the album’s riffing, with its half-crazed introduction inspired by (but clearly not in the form of) classical guitar, and insistent verses. Destruction’s best songs have this gibbering mania to them that  makes everything sound unhingeed, but precise at the same time. Very precise riffing, good transitions between riffs, slightly extended songwriting, aggressive but slightly imprecise drumming, etc. More metaphors: If Sodom in 1986 was a brutish executioner with a rusty hammer, and Kreator was a trained warrior rushing at you with a gigantic sword, Destruction were the weirdos running around sticking knives in people and giggling maniacally, which is why they became the German Thrash Empire’s assassins.

Silliness aside, it explains the appeal of the band’s early recordings. Destruction had a rare sound back in the day. Main vocalist Marcel Schmier deserves some credit for his approach to vocals. Compared to earlier recordings, his vocals on Eternal Devastation aren’t as harsh and have less ‘low end’ (read: growl) to them. Schmier is still shouting/sprechsanging along, with the occasional high shriek for emphasis. In the end, the vocalist is still just part of the band, and how effective his work is depends on the quality of the compositions. This is why Destruction faded into the background after 1990. Obviously, there are the albums that the band has disowned, but when Marcel Schmier returned on All Hell Breaks Loose, I get the feeling the band just wanted to play it safe by imitating their past successes. While this has resulted in some entertaining albums, they’ve also been rather formulaic and disposable. Doesn’t really matter, anyways; Destruction did release Eternal Devastation, and the rest of their 1980s material is memorable and of high quality.

Highlights: “Confound Games”, “Life Without Sense”, “United By Hatred”

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