DESTRUCTION - Born To Thrash - Live In Germany
May 8, 2020, a month ago
The digital download of a spur-of-the-moment decision, thanks to the inactivity foisted on the world by Covid-19. The tapes of last summer's Party San festival appearance laying around, with tour postponed and 2020 festival dates kaput, Destruction decided to make lemonade, from the undoubtedly sour coronavirus lemons and put a few badly needed Euros in their pockets, as well. Repudiated to be the first live show as a coherent foursome since the ‘80s (second guitarist Damir Eskic, with recruited Canuck drummer Randy Black, joining mainstays Schmier and Mike), physical copies will include a poster mapping where fans first saw the band live, names & locales part of the one-of-a-kind commemorative.
The ten inclusions are indicative of the Deutsche trio (oops, quartet's) all-hits, fest setlist for a while now. A pair off the (then) new Born To Perish album are included: "Betrayal" and the title cut. Otherwise it's about 2/3 vintage and 1/3 offerings since the turn of millennium reunion. OK, this is the fourth onstage opus from Schmier & Co., still opening with "Curse The Gods", same as the '89 Live Without Sense (in fact, both also include "Mad Butcher", "Live Without Sense" and conclude with "Bestial Invasion"). Some things never (should) change!
Opening with a meandering intro tape that belies the onslaught about to befall the crowd, it abruptly jumps into the twin axe attack of "Curse The Gods". The sound is clear, especially the separation of guitars. Schmier makes a couple of references to the festival (so we know where they're at, just in case) as well as some comments in German. "Nailed To The Cross" sees his usual high-pitched yelp digging into gruff, guttural vocalizations. A big native tongue greeting, prior to "Born To Perish", but the band really never stops. Like some old jazz outfit, the musicians tone down the volume, but keep plying their instruments (especially Black's crisp strike of the snare), as the frontman talks over top, then everyone takes flight into the aforementioned.
Fuller sound, come bouncy "Mad Butcher", as one six-string shreds away on the leads, there's still a crunchy bedrock, beneath. Mid-tempo grind of "Live Without Sense" follows, Schmier dedicating this "headbanger" to the metal family gathered that day. A rare Destruction sing-along, even for those festival goers who might not be as familiar with the catalog (Shame on you!). The slower, twisted notes in "Betrayal" are audible in the mix, before Mike and Damir trade licks, one in each channel (headphones mandatory!). Even old school "Total Desaster" has a double dose of ear candy. Blazing fingers times two. Brief respite, before continuing with the squeak and squawk of "The Butcher Strikes Back", seamlessly into "Thrash Till Death". Whiplash inducing "Bestial Invasion" closes things out. Understandable why they'd have to stop, after that whirlwind.
The only problem is the length, just under an hour, but it's not the band's fault. Blame the organizers of Party San, as Destruction cram as much music (Can-Con pun intended) as possible, during the allotted time. Physical copies will have 1800+ names and locations of when/where fans first saw the band live (myself included). Do the band a favor and buy both this early released, digital copy and the CD, a few months later. After all, they have an extra mouth to feed these days!