Review: Destruction – Born To Perish
We’re all born for the express reason of ceasing. Existence seeks a close. Fifty-odd years into their lives and 37 into their career as Destruction, the German trio-turned-quartet has to face the fact. But is Born To Perish a cry for for one last vain-glorious struggle, a limp, meaningless act of resistance for it’s own sake, or a rallying call from men at ease with the impending doom, re-invigorated for the final push?
Ever since Schmier and Mike Sifringer got back together at the turn of the millenium, Destruction’s produced a whole slew of albums, with varying degrees of quality. Under Attack followed one of the band’s longest gap’s between records, and sounded, and felt, like it had been recorded by re-invigorated group. Though mostly in comparison to it’s lackluster and rushed predecessor, Spiritual Genocide, rather than in general.
Born To Perish did not take as long to simmer, but hopes for it were raised with the addition of lead guitarist Damir Eskic, who’d already guested on the previous record, making the band a quartet for the first time since the early 90’s. Though another Release From Agony was scarcely likely, more vital solos and additional limberness enabled by Eskic’s relatively ferocious and graceful playing alone could do miracles for the band, if the man was given enough room on the record.
With the release of Thrash Anthems II, though by no means essential, or a great, collection of re-recordings and addition of former Primal Fear/Annihilator drummer Randy Black to the fold anticipation grew eager still, with hopes that the latter would bring a new twist into band’s rhythmic background, previously dominated by Vaaver’s capable, but very straightforward and nondescript performances, and the the former would have rubbed some of that old school Destruction magic into the foursome’s songwriting.
The latter hasn’t brought much conceivable change along with him, keeping along the same lines as his predecessor did, and neither do the riffs reminisce of days when curses were eternal, overkills infernal and sentences to be hanged by the neck until Death claim it’s own. But what has changed is Eskic, who has been given well enough room throughout the album, and who’s presence seems to have inspired some of the sharpest riffing Destruction has put to tape in many, many years. The opening trio of “Born To Perish”, “Inspired By Death” and “Betrayal” demonstrate the album’s strength best – each is very much line with the band’s recorded works in the 2000’s, but everything works on a level rarely achieved by modern Destruction. Though even then, hints of lackluster ideas and filler which riddled their last few come in the form of “Betrayal’s” limping chorus.
Which brings us to Born To Perish’s downsides. While the riffs may be of stronger yarn, many of the songs still include fluff and blunt dullness familiar from their more recent works, and several drag on for beyond their capacity. From the aforementioned opening title track’s slight over-extension to “Butchered For Life” seemingly endless dragging, that harms an otherwise highlighting track, and all the way to “Rotten’s” practically filler existence.
Destruction’s latter day records have suffered from boredom settling in due to a mix of lacking ace-riffs and sameness, the latter of which is fought more effectively on Born To Perish, but not entirely avoided. “Butchered For Life”, serving as something of a halfway mark, is the record’s most effective weapon in fending it off, going boldly where no Destruction record has gone before.
Even the soft first notes of “Reject Emotions” barely hinted at the gentle playing heard here, though the heavier chorus once again proves lackluster, and Destruction’s forte was never writing seven-minute songs, not to mention the album could desperately have used another similar pattern breaker. The only other song that even slightly twists the formula comes earlier on the record, in the form of “Filthy Wealth’s” Motörhead vibes. As a result, by the last two songs “Fatal Flight 17” and “Ratcatcher”, of which the former especially is an enjoyable stand-alone track, the tedium has settled in once again, and the sharpest edge lost.
While Eskic has been given room in the songs, the dual-guitar approach isn’t always taken very good advantage of and he hasn’t brought upon any deeper, significant change in the band’s songwriting. Born To Perish is nevertheless most vital Destruction has sounded in ages, and a spark of hope that they’ll improve still, in the years to come.
3/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Born To Perish comes out on August 9th, which is this Friday, on Nuclear Blast. Check out their Euro- and US webstores for a copy, and keep up with them on Facebook. Go also tell the band something on social media.