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Destruction - All Hell Breaks Loose Review

by Matt Hensch

Reunions are typically panned by everyone on an all-encompassing spectrum, including the fans, critics, naysayers, believers, senators and most individuals of any breed. "All Hell Breaks Loose," though, interestingly created a rejoicing period amongst Destruction fans worldwide. The "Neo-Destruction" incarnation of Destruction (or a no-Schmier Destruction) was as good as dead before the bassist/vocalist returned; the group's plunge into unnatural crap turned the Butcher's work into dung, and his customers were quite disappointed with his lackluster performance. However, Schmier's must-needed return to the German thrash legends produced one of the most stable and consistent comeback albums ever. Granted, Destruction's prime was behind the band, but the ravenous three-piece discharged a nifty slab of thrashy metal that kicks ass and rocks, but above all remains loyal to the group's legacy, much unlike the status-quo of ill-fated reunions.

This incarnation of Destruction was no doubt finding influence from the second stage of thrash and the all-conquering groove metal; it was nearly a decade since Schmier and Mike Sifringer had worked together. While the touches of groove and post-primitive thrash are obvious, this still has a multitude of aggressive, thrashy riffs lacerating more energy than a kid on a Mountain Dew binge, all of which is topped off with a killer, crispy guitar tone and wonderful performances by each member. The material overall emits an aroma of modern thrash that isn't wildly varied or radically shifting, but the songs are generally explosive and volatile numbers of pure Destruction just as we know them, and Schmier's energetic, poisonous yelps sound as if he never left in the first place.

Call this blasphemy, but the (bazillioth) rerecording of "Total Desaster" here is easily my favorite; it's burning thrash swaying through circles of awesome modern touches fitting into the classic 80s feel, which certainly is not lost in this glorious update. "Tears of Blood" and "Machinery of Lies" are systematic thrashers which reek of absolute Destruction, nothing more. Hell, even the groove-influenced numbers ("World Domination of Pain," "Visual Prostitution") have enough hooks and great songwriting to keep the alloy fresh, whereas "The Final Curtain" and "The Butcher Strikes Back" remain crucifying trophies of modern thrash perfection. "X-Treme Measures" pays homage to the insipid groove hooks that ran the metal scene throughout the late 1990s, and the musical comparisons to Machine Head and the other groove monkeys are undeniable. "Kingdom of Damnation" is also quite forgettable and vapid, but the rest of "All Hell Breaks Loose" is spot-on Destruction sweating the energy and persistence of malevolent thrash metal honoring its German masters.

Albums and reunions that are years in the making usually fall flat, but "All Hell Breaks Loose" did not. The regression and progression (old-school and modern thrash) of Destruction's return feels right and natural, but also revitalizing considering how the garbage that was somehow stamped with the Destruction label prior to this reunion had disappeared into the blackest of oblivions, leaving the ashes of Neo-Destruction to swirl in the wind forevermore. Most of the following albums match or are superior to "All Hell Breaks Loose," but it remains a messy piece of ravenous, bestial, caffeinated thrash metal that sinks its teeth in and refuses to let go regardless. Oh Destruction, it's so nice you're back.

Destruction - All Hell Breaks Loose


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