1986 is the year most would consider the best in thrash metal. With several classic albums being released that year all celebrating their 30th birthdays this year, most thrashers will be getting nostalgic. Now in 2016, it could be yet another year to remember in the genre’s history with plenty of great new albums being put out by thrash bands young and old. One of which is the mighty Destruction. 30 years after their thrash classic Eternal Devastation they’ve unleashed Under Attack upon the world.
Under Attack begins with it’s title track (which Destruction have a video for), which opens the album with a mysterious clean intro underneath which frontman Schmier flexes his bass chops. The song builds with increasing heavy guitars over a marching snare drum before firing on all cylinders into and all-out speedfest. There are catchy high-speed riffs aplenty and some seriously shredding solos courtesy of guitarist Mike Sifringer. The album segues straight into “Generation Nevermore” which continues with the thrashing speed, catchy riffing and ripping solos (featuring some nice harmonised touches here and there). Both songs are sure to go down a storm when performed live with plenty of shout-along moments in their respective choruses. “Dethroned” takes a breather with it’s slower intro/chorus riff which interlaces nicely with it’s more thrashing verse riffs. The mid-section powers along at a more mid-pace which gets the head banging before a return to the catchy chorus. “Getting Used to the Evil” marks a change of pace throughout Under Attack with it’s more mysterious-sounding (akin to the intro of the title track) clean guitar arpeggios which are peppered throughout the song. The pace picks up a little in the mid-section with a more groovy harmonised riff over drummer Vaaver’s frenetic double-kick drumming. The thrashing velocity makes a return in “Pathogenic”with more simplistic all-out speed riffs over the frantic drumming. The middle also features another few bars where the bass gets a chance to shine before the guitar solos take their turn in the spotlight.
It’s clear from listening to the first half of Under Attack that Destruction are getting more political. The lyrics are pissed-off at all of the current events around the world from terrorism to political corruption and the people’s ignorance and hate towards the world around them. The artwork sums this perfectly with an exploding Earth revealing Destruction’s signature skull mascot bursting out of it as more missiles are about to destroy it. It’s as if the band are saying: “There is ignorance, hate, corruption, terror and death everywhere and it’s happening everyday. If we don’t do anything to stop it, we will destroy ourselves and the world”.
The second half of Under Attack begins with “Elegant Pigs”. The pace is generally more mid-paced and the tone is much moodier. The song is definitely a pissed-off number mourning the state of rock music as business and money takes precedence over the music. It’s a short song, but definitely one to keep in mind when the discussion of whether rock is dead or not rears it’s ugly head. “Second to None” (which the Destruction have a lyric video for) moves forward at a faster pace and directs it’s anger and aggression towards internet trolls whose cowardly hatred has lead to fear and death in their victims. The song is chock full of shout-along moments and banging riffs which will definitely get the crowd going when played at a gig. “Stand Up for What You Deliver” slows down to a more swinging pace and features more legato based riffing in places that’s reminiscent of Destruction’s late 80’s output, as well as another shredding solo with plenty of harmonised flavours here and there. “Conductor of the Void” continues at a similar pace to it’s predecessor and lyrically sums of the statement about the artwork. “Stigmatized” ends the album firing at full speed again with more straightforward in-your-face riffing that straight-up gets the head banging and the mosh pit raging.
Under Attack also features two bonus tracks. The first being a cover of Venom’s game-changing “Black Metal” which features guest vocals from Alex Camargo from Brazillian death metallers Krisiun. The cover is pretty true to the original. There’s nothing new other than a slight increase in speed. It’s definitely a fun cover song that if played live, would definitely go down well with thrashers worldwide on Destruction’s upcoming tour. The final bonus track is a re-recording of Destruction’s staple instrumental “Thrash Attack” (which debuted on their debut LP Infernal Overkill in 1985). Musically it’s nothing new, just updated in terms of sound and production. It’s rather unnecessary but is still a fun listen nonetheless.
Under Attack is a pretty solid Destruction album. It’s angry and chock full of great thrash riffing and shredding solos which keep the head banging. Some songs are a bit more memorable than others though with several listens, Under Attack is sure to grow on the listener.
Highlights: “Under Attack”, “Generation Nevermore”, “Getting Used to the Evil”, “Second to None”
Destruction are playing various festivals throughout the summer before a short European tour (supported by Flotsam and Jetsam, Enforcer and Nervosa) starting on the 15th of September until the 16th of October. Countries include Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium