For a band that have been around for over 30 years(!), describing Destruction as veterans of the thrash metal scene, or something like that, is an understatement. Considering both their longevity and considerable output since that time, I imagine there are few in the metal world who are unfamiliar with the band in some capacity or other. Well, unless all you listen to is the commercial, stadium-friendly side of this kind of music, in which case Destruction have come to show you how thrash metal is actually done.
Destruction continue to play crisp, punchy thrash that manages to somehow retain an old-school authenticity, while embracing aspects of the newer strains of the style too. This is quite an achievement for any band, but when you consider how long Destruction have been doing what they have been doing, it would be so easy for them to be stuck in a rut. They seem to have a knack for including aspects of more modern thrash in their music without really diluting the feel and impact of their original style. It’s quite impressive.
With this in mind, it’s easy to enjoy Under Attack. The songs blur by with spiked intent and barbed delivery. Distinctly old-school, but with a modern sheen; sonically the band sound on fire, and the songs themselves are not far behind this.
You don’t get as far in your career as Destruction have without knowing how to pen a thrash metal song. Under Attack is chock full of thrash anthems and catchy hooks. Riffs, leads and solos all conspire together to keep the tunes rolling around in your head long after you’re listening to something else, and before you know it you’re blaring out Under Attack at full volume once more.
All of this is before we even mention their singer’s iconic voice, of course. His distinctive performance is resolutely old-school. This is one part of the Destruction sound that modernity hasn’t really impacted on, and the band are all the better for it. Destruction’s skilled addition of aspects of contemporary thrash into their old-school songwriting does not extend to the vocals; these are delivered with every bit as much old-school style, passion and honesty as they ever were. His voice is probably an acquired taste to some, I suppose, but I’m so acclimatised to it at this point that all I can say is that his performance is just as fiery, impassioned and individual as it always was. With catchy vocal rhythms and a thrash voice to kill for, he keeps on delivering the goods.
Under Attack is the epitome of those types of albums where each song has its own personality and character. Play any song randomly and you can identify it and where it sits. Top work.
Thrash metal was always one of my first loves way back when, but over the years I’ve become a bit jaded with it. When bands like Destruction continue to release great music though it’s so easy to remember why I fell in love with the genre all those many years ago. Along with recent releases by Artillery and Exumer, 2016 is shaping up to be a terrific year for thrash metal!