Big Apple DESTRUCTION!
June 2, 2017, a year ago
Killer! The German thrash trio returns to North America and unleashes a set that touches on all phases of their glorious history, sneaking in a couple of newbie, off Under Attack (including the titular, opening salvo), as well as a virtual Best Of from the reformation years AND the ‘80s heyday. Thanks to Ken, from Piercing Metal, found a new watering hole, McGarry's (near Penn Station/Madison Square garden) to pre-game. So tipped back a few imported Hefeweizzen, prior to heading to the Gramercy, where Destruction were headlining.
Might be contemporaries of Metallica, but the composition of the crowd was entirely different. Unlike the US thrashers, the Teutonic terrors pull almost entirely a younger crowd (maybe it was all the death metal support acts), but the old timers (so numerous at 'Tallica, a few weeks back) appeared to be minimal, in number. What gives? Speaking of oddities, they were selling a 30 year commemorative T-shirt, for Release From Agony, with four, individual band member photos on the back. It's been two decades since (the then Schmier-less) Destruction last had four guys onstage. Seems strange.
As always, Mike Sifringer, he of the Muppet physique and floppy hair, strolls onstage first, followed by the towering, tattooed bassist/singer. A trio of mics are spaced across the stage, allowing Schmier to sing from more than one position. "Curse The Gods" whips by. "Nailed to The Cross" sees the fans adding their voices to the chorus, Schmier playing his bass vertically (an upright bass?). Unaware of the crowd make-up, he offered," You might remember 1983," cue "Mad Butcher", as the dual scrims either side of drummer Vaaver are bathed in green, to start "Mad Butcher". Foot on the monitor, Schmier surveys a sea of moshing bodies and flailing hair stretched before him, during "Dethroned". Greens return for "Life Without Sense". The two musicos occasionally lock-in, side-by-side, but mostly it's Schmier's head down approach, while Mike is doling out the technicalities. Following, the stage goes completely black (and not for the last time tonight).
As the intro to "Release From Agony" begins, the drummer is highlighted and the band is backlit, in silhouette. "Total Desaster" has more vertical bass playing. Once more, a blackened stage, when the lights come back up, Schmier asks for a beer! Recalling '85, the next song is announced as never having been played in New York, previously. The candidate is "Thrash Attack", a strobe highlighted instrumental which gives Schmier & Mike the rare chance to stand next to one another. A bit of a rest, they unleash a brutal "Antichrist", the big man's vocals very animated. Maybe I was too hasty about those four man band comments as Schmier brought out the singer from Jungle Rot to handle vocals for "Invincible Force", a red/yellow and strobe pounding affair. All the while, Sifringer blazes away on the fretboard, stage left.
"Second To None", another Under Attack tune, sits nicely aside the old classics. Speaking of vintage numbers, the Butcher sequel, "The Butcher Strikes back" sees fan voices get another workout, closing out the proper set. The encore matches the reformation "Thrash Till Death" paired with old school "Bestial Invasion". Hard to see, with all the sweaty, flailing hair (augmented by a violently blowing electric fan), but think the guys were smiling proudly, come the end. Destruction remain one of the classics. Ein deutscher schatz!