Destruction Thrash Anthems

One of few bands active in their scene since their inception (1984 for those counting), German thrash metal stalwarts Destruction have overpaid their dues during their 20-year-plus career. That could be frustrating given the onslaught of bands returning from the grave in an effort to recapture limited nostalgia (cough, Testament, Sacred Reich) while they suffered through the darkest of times, yet it has only served to improve the band’s standing lately, garnering them more column inches in the past months than they’ve received — at least in North America — in years. Still, the resurgence lends meaning to this "greatest hits” album, a subtle cue that Destruction are still dominant. Given the uncompromising ferocity and testosterone that fuel their dirge, it is no wonder that this collection sets the record straight as to who the originators are. True, some tunes age better than others but the likes of "Release From Agony,” "Death Trap” and "Life Without Sense” have a sonic girth and thrust courtesy of forces that only Destruction and fellow Germans Kreator could truly maintain: rage and passion molested into hyperactive pacing, crunching rhythms and searing guitar solos. Sure, those elements may seem perfunctory by today’s standards but when put in context, they are still no less forceful. Throw in a couple of new tunes to prove they’ve still got it and these 17 tracks remind us that Destruction maintain two key elements few of their contemporaries do: dignity and relevance. (AFM)