Thrash legends DESTRUCTION were veritably reborn in the early 2000s, yet 2005's "Inventor of Evil" made people care about them again. Since then, DESTRUCTION hasn't so much as turned to behold the decimation left in their vapor trails. They just keep rolling. Fortunately for DESTRUCTION, nobody thinks much about their oddball numbers "Cracked Brain", "The Least Successful Cannonball" and the "Destruction" and "Them Not Me" EPs except to groan in reflection before limbering up their neck muscles for anticipatory headbanging. Thus we'll leave Schmier's inexplicable brief ejection in 1989 and the band's temporary downfall as anomalies.
For their 30th anniversary, DESTRUCTION celebrates with a vengeance on "Spiritual Genocide", one of the fiercest and rhythmic albums they've ever laid down. Considering their last album, "Day of Reckoning", still feels like yesterday, "Spiritual Genocide" could've gone down in flames as a rush job. However, a large reason for "Spiritual Genocide"'s relentless popping pistons is the addition of new drummer Wawryzyniec "Vaaver" Dramowicz. Vaaver's metrical feels for thrash and groove turns good material into nearly-spectacular. He's the Godzilla of double hammer on the title track and "Under Violent Sledge". Thus "Spiritual Genocide" is a cleaver-swinging party for not only The Mad Butcher, but for Schmier and Mike Sirfinger, who might've only released a staple album without this hefty upgrade behind their backs.
"Cyanide" nearly over-exerts itself in its SLAYER-esque agitation, while "City of Doom" unmistakably sounds like "Rust in Peace"-era MEGADETH. Otherwise, the remainder of this album is pure Teutonic carnage as DESTRUCTION's fans have come to depend upon them to deliver. Mike Sirfinger's shredding acumen is understated throughout this album, but his bridges and dizzying solo segment on "City of Doom" are melted-down happy pills. Then Sirfinger's note-crazed solos on the title track serve as reminder he's as good as anyone on speedy six string.
"Spiritual Genocide", "Renegades", "No Signs of Repentance", "Riot Squad" and "Under Violent Sledge" wallop at nearly every turn and the pace is pressed with scant time to breathe. Only on "Carnivore" and "To Dust You Will Decay" does DESTRUCTION bother to slow down. Still, there are sorties of swiftness blasting throughout "Dust", while the mid-tempo smack of "Carnivore" allots for a gnarly solo sequence that projects nearly as loud as Schmier's housewarmed shrieks and ralphs.
"Legacy of the Past" may come off like a creeper, but it quickly asserts itself into higher gear and in true spirit of its namesake, it rings of the "Release From Agony" and "Eternal Devastation" days. We can assume it was even recorded in analog and touched up digitally in spots since it carries down-tuned whispers behind the projection to give it an old-school feel. To kick up the fun factor, Tom Angelripper of SODOM, Andreas "Gerre" Geremia from TANKARD and Ol Drake from EVILE join in the frivolity. All this cut needed for a proper alumni kick was Mille Petrozza of KREATOR sidling up to the Butcher's cutting board. Nevertheless, "Legacy of the Past" is almost as fun as the all-star packed "The Alliance of Hellhoundz" from "Inventor of Evil".
The initial press reaction to "Spiritual Genocide" has been mixed and those are just the spoiled times we're living in. So much has been recorded in metal at this point, a reliably heavy band such as DESTRUCTION is held accountable for the minutest imperfections or potential squanders. Contrary to some opinions, this album hardly squanders. Had "Spiritual Genocide" followed "Release From Agony" or "The Mad Butcher" EP, it would've been held in immediate regard. The fact an album this meaty, defined and brutal is subject to scrutiny seems pretty goddamned weird.
- Ray Van Horn, Jr.