Destruction: Thrashing ‘Til Death

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There are some personalities that seem eternal, artists so synonymous with their band that it would be impossible to imagine an album without them. Though DESTRUCTION parted ways with front man Marcel SchmierSchirmer for the majority of the 90s, it’s impossible to picture the band today without his towering figure. A man mountainous in stature and personality, with his piercing yell and metal-’til-death attitude he has become a legendary figure with thrash. Now the last founding member of DESTRUCTION following the departure of original guitarist Mike Sifringer last year, Schmier has returned with Diabolical, his 15th record fronting DESTRUCTION.

Losing a founding member can be a devastating blow for a band, particularly one as prolific a writer as Sifringer. With Diabolic being the first release in DESTRUCTION’s 40 year history Sifringer hasn’t been on, there was certainly a touch of apprehension around the new record. Such apprehension was put to bed almost immediately with the release of Diabolical’s title track back in December last year. Visceral, hungry, and more energetic than a band pushing 40 years of existence has any right to be, it was a wonderful taster for what was to come and ironclad proof that, though Sifringer’s presence will be missed – especially by long-time fans – DESTRUCTION will continue to be a force to be reckoned with as long Schmieris there to yell into the mic and slap the bass with unbridled aggression.

“When we decided to continue with DESTRUCTION after Mike left there was a lot of talk of whether it would be okay to keep going without Mike, but DESTRUCTION is also my band, it’s my baby as well.” Schmier comments on Sirfringer’s exit. “Of course I’m going to continue, this is my life’s work. Mike leaving was sad for all of us, but it’s his decision and everyone has to respect that – not everyone wants to do this their whole life. But I hope when people hear Diabolical people will understand that the band will go on no matter what, and we will sound like DESTRUCTION for as long as we can keep going!”

Welcomed into the fold in place of Sirfringer is a familiar face for DESTRUCTION. Martin Furia has been involved with the band for years now, though more in a “behind-the-scenes” capacity. Diabolical sees Furia move from the engineering desk to the stage – a natural choice for Schmier and co., he makes clear. “Martin has been with us for about five years doing our front-of-house sound and as our tour manager. He was really close to us, and when I came up with the idea to bring him into the picture the other guys were thrilled because he’s such a good friend to us. We just didn’t know if he could step up to the expectations of replacing Mike, but he was so well prepared. Bringing Martin into the fold was the best decision we could have made, because it doesn’t feel like a new member of the band, he’s been part of the DESTRUCTION-family for so long now. It just feels so natural.”

There’s a lovely duality to Diabolical – as there is with so much heavy music. It is an aggressive album to the extreme, rabidly fast-paced and dripping from start to finish with pure ferocity. But as Schmier explains, the themes he explores within the lyrics are far from the mad-butchery we’ve come to expect from thrash.

“Of course the pandemic is still all around, but I didn’t want to write about the pandemic, I wanted to write about the experiences that came from the pandemic, the depression and anxiety [we all felt]. We all need strength again for putting things back together and of course, hope also is a very important thing. I tried to put lyrics that inspire me, that have a message and maybe also sound critical. No Faith in Humanity sounds very negative, but if you listen to the song the very last word of the song is solidarity. I tried to put the positive message into very strong metal lyrics. In the end, solidarity is the key for humanity to survive all this. That’s the key, for us to have a happy life we’ve got to get up again when we fall down.”

That positivity comes from Schmier bouncing back from what has been a particularly brutal couple of years. He’s commented before that Diabolical saved his life, and even away from that it’s clear that writing this record has reignited a helluva spark in him.

“On top of COVID, we had a lot of complications before we started Diabolical. I had to ask myself if it was worth carrying on. We spent such a long time trying to survive this pandemic, and things weren’t easy with the change of record label, then with Mike leaving the band, and I lost my girlfriend at the time. It really felt like everything was going against me somehow,” Schmier reflects on how tough things were coming into the start of the Diabolical process. “But I found music again, I found relief and satisfaction with composing and playing again. Music was really there for me and I was actually surprised by how many good ideas and how many good inspirations I had at that point. Diabolical really saved me because it gave me strength back, and belief and love for music again. It was a really important album for me. I think when I look back in a few years, it may be one of the most important DESTRUCTION albums of my career.”

The healing power of thrash is a remarkable thing. It’s been 40 years since Schmier first started thrashing with DESTRUCTION precursor KNIGHT OF DEMON, but Diabolical feels like a new birth for both the band and Schmier himself. The energy and passion packed into Diabolical is something to behold, but what’s more exciting is the promise it holds. DESTRUCTION‘s back catalogue is crammed with bangers, classic tracks and albums that are nothing short of essential listening for any fan of the genre. But listening to Diabolical, there is a very real feeling that Schmier is only just starting a new chapter for DESTRUCTION, rather than approaching the end of the book. At this rate, there’s another 20 years of thrashing left in them, at least. And it’s going to be a helluva ride.

Diabolical is out now via Napalm Records.

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The post Destruction: Thrashing ‘Til Death appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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