ALBUM REVIEW: Under Attack – Destruction

German metallers DESTRUCTION have dominated the thrash metal scene since the ‘80s, the genre was angry, it was blood pumping and it was fast. Under Attack has gone straight back to the era that kick-started one of the most enjoyed genres in the world of heavy metal.

As one of the pioneering bands in German thrash metal, DESTRUCTION always have a lot to live up to, they are given expectations that they don’t want. As a band, they feel that the younger generation of thrash metal fans expect too much from the genre, and that is why many have grown to come apart from bands such as SLAYER and METALLICA. Under Attack should diminish any higher expectation for the band, it is everything that is wanted and hoped for.

The title track on its own unleashes a wall of sound that is fuelled with sheer aggression and a thirst for speed. Just as an opener into the album, it is obvious to notice that there are some conceptual and controversial subjects that DESTRUCTION are really keen on getting out there and what better than to throw them into some fast, angry songs that really get people pumped about. Generation Nevermore and Second to None are another two of the most notable, thrash metal can always be just like punk in terms of lyrical content, being angry at people and the politics of the world but DESTRUCTION have taken on another angle. They’re mad about the way humans are killing the earth and they’re mad about cyber-bullies.

To press some pretty relevant subjects into their music, especially regarding cyber-bullying and social media is probably something that isn’t touched on much in music but it is a real problem and DESTRUCTION have allowed people to be angry about it and not just about how they feel about their governments. Under Attack is so angry, it’s a lot more ground-crushing than 2012’s Spiritual Genocide, the band have stepped up and gone back to their roots and that is what has made the album so good, it is why so many people fell in love with the thrash metal genre to start off with.

Dethroned is one of the most suitable examples of how the band aren’t ready to slow down and stop learning what they do best. The song isn’t the most laid-back on the album but it certainly showcases the instrumental talent that may be missed due to the speed, making it refreshing to just remember the intricacy that goes into the genre. Getting Used to the Evil on the other hand is probably the most laid-back in terms of the lack of speed but it has opened up a door to be able to explore the passion about what the band are so angry about through the vocals of front-man Schmier.

From then on, Under Attack does not slow down, it only gets faster and heavier. The special thing is that DESTRUCTION are still unveiling new musical elements that they can incorporate into their albums but still keep the origins of what they are all about. Conductor of the Void is one of those tracks, whilst it’s fast and furious, they have thrown in a mechanical way of making it a real punchy song and that is exactly what the album needed to really hit out as being one of the best in their career.

This is DESTRUCTION’s 14th studio album, each prior has shown different developments and moments that have made fans realise or remember why they are a band that has pioneered for so long without a fail and Under Attack is possibly their strongest in doing so since the early ‘90s. Being angry and fast might be a repetitive phrase now about the album but it is what makes a thrash album good, you cannot make a thrash album off of being mellow and calm about matters that are in our daily lives, it simply does not work that way and what has made DESTRUCTION such a successful band is that they are always angry at something. It isn’t always a bad thing being angry, Under Attack showcases this in the best possible way. It has created a channel for every listener to unleash their emotions in a healthy way and that is DESTRUCTION giving them a chance to bang their heads and let go.

As an album, it was worth the four year wait, the second longest wait for a DESTRUCTION record, it has solid song-writing and instrumental talent. What has made it so successful in being one of the bands best releases in a few years however, is what has been said over and over again, it has all the roots in it about what makes the thrash metal genre so good in the first place, aggression, speed and passion.

Rating: 8/10
Destruction - Under Attack - Artwork

Under Attack is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.