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After the massively schizophrenic assault of “Eternal Devastation”, tables were suddenly turned for Destruction: they decided to enforce their lineup from a technical standpoint, in order to continue on the path they had taken with their latest masterpiece. Thus, Mike and Schmier recruited two musicians who were coming pretty much from a jazz background and were much more technically proficient: the guitarist Harry Wilkens (who was supposed to help Mike in the solo department) and the drummer Oliver Kaiser; so, from a power trio, Destruction evolved into a quartet, and with this renewed lineup they would later record their fourth masterpiece “Release from Agony”. However, before this new massive strike to our nervous system, the band decided to release a little EP which was supposed to be both a test for the new lineup and a preview for the fans about the “new course”: the result of this choice was the classic “Mad Butcher” EP.
To be honest, I wouldn’t put this release beside the other masterpieces released by Destruction during the 80s (which are some of my favourite records of all time): it’s obvious that this EP pales in comparison to the legendary “Sentence of Death” - and mine is not a casual comparison, since the title-track of this release is nothing but a re-recording of one of the band’s most famous hits, originally released on that groundbreaking debut EP. As predictable, this new version is much more technical and precise: the guitars have a definitely thinner and cleaner sound (although still in the typical 80’s vein) and the legendary guitar phrasings that made this song unforgettable are now performed in a much more “surgical” style, with a notable “virtuoso” touch in the solos, losing most of the primitive fury that characterized the original performance from 1984; even Schmier’s “cynical” voice is less appropriated in this context, compared to the old savage vocals of “Sentence of Death”, and the whole song ends sounding a bit too “soulless” for my taste, having been re-recorded more as a guitar exercise than anything else (although the little “Pink Panther” cover at the end is quite hilarious if you ask me).
However, you must keep in mind that my minor enjoyment for this EP is just relative to the band we’re speaking of here, since their past releases are just too damn awesome: this, on its own merit, is still an excellent record, pretty much in line with many other great thrash bands that were debuting during those years, and there are some interesting gifts to be found on here. The Plasmatics cover, for example, is really great: Wendy’s vocals were clearly the most appropriate ones for a “Schmier-certified” reinterpretation (in fact, the crazy thrash singer does an excellent job at personalizing Williams’ vocal lines, while still keeping faith to the original spirit of the song) - while the Mike/Harry guitar duo manages to add a fine speed metal touch to the instrumental section, demonstrating also a good coordination between rhythm and solo sections (which is what they were trying to pursue on this EP, after all).
“Reject Emotions” is, by far, the most interesting track featured on here: it shows Destruction doing a huge step forward in the compositional department, putting their higher technical skills at the service of a more experimental kind of songwriting. This time, instead of the unstoppable mayhemic force of “Eternal Devastation”, you’ll be welcomed by a mellow arpeggio upon which Schmier almost “hisses” the lyrics, with a subtle, nearly “sensual” voice (still in a “sinister” way, though); some brilliant solos intertwine with the arpeggio (along with some occasional, yet extremely well-placed bass lines), giving an appropriate dimension to the band’s new “virtuoso” direction and showing also a certain level of sophistication. Then, a very technical Bay Area-like mid-paced riff kicks in, carrying forward a discreetly “subtle” mood that evolves in other surgical, yet appropriate riffs - especially during the middle section, where the solo guitar gives a very sinister and unsettling feeling, despite being this a quite “calm” tune for the band’s standards. The only “intense” moment of this song is the chorus, which possesses a quite “scornful” melodic riff upon which Schmier celebrates his evidently hedonistic/materialistic view of sex, which leaves no space to love and annoying sentimental addictions. Emblematic are also the following verses:
”Don’t need a love romance,
all you want is something to ride!
Princess, you wanna open your legs?
It is time to show you my way of love...”
While being not at the exact same level of the material featured on “Sentence of Death”, “Infernal Overkill”, “Eternal Devastation” or even the following “Release from Agony”, “Reject Emotions” is an excellent song that shows Destruction in a slightly unfriendly territory, within which they manage to survive thanks to their incredible songwriting ability. After this pure display of ear-candy, the EP closes with an instrumental called “The Last Judgement”: thanks to its excellent use of virtuoso guitar skills, it manages to accomplish an “hallucinated”, almost “outwordly” atmosphere, while at the same time satisfying the band’s obvious need to experiment with technicality and stuff.
The “Mad Butcher” EP is definitely the right way to create a create a “technical exercise”, instead of wanking around without direction in the typical pseudo-prog fashion. This release still remains inferior to the rest of Destruction’s material of the 80s, and I have never been particularly fond of the re-recorded version of “Mad Butcher”, yet there’s still a lot of quality material to be discovered - making of this EP a very competitive affair for the time it was released.
This was the first I ever heard of Destruction and, safe to say, I was pretty surprised. I didn't expect the tinniness of the guitars, nor the overall lightweight approach to the production, since having heard Sodom and Kreator previously play the same kind of Teutonic thrash had left me with the impression of brutality and attack. What I heard on this EP plays more like speed metal, which - despite the violent themes of the title track - doesn't convince me with its heaviness or darkness.
That light sound makes the guitars come out quickly and with little power, rather as if they weren't turned up loud enough during the recording. It's hard to say what was going on though, since the drums don't come through with much more power, while Schmier has a slightly better helping of the sound on his vocals. Listening to the solo section of 'The Damned', the whole band seems to be missing, with all the levels miles apart, just a soaring solo above the regularly pounding drum, the guitar relegated to the background like a pop song.
That said, the playing on offer here is pretty good, which swings the balance back in Destruction's favour. It would hardly be worth getting an EP that only had a remake, a cover, and two new songs (one of which is instrumental), but when included with 'Eternal Devastation' (a common re-release) it becomes a little more enticing. The changes to the two previous songs are also fairly pleasing, a lot more lead work and the Pink Panther theme (?) coming into 'Mad Butcher', while 'The Damned' gets a fair bit of solo time from the guitars and bass, even if the mix doesn't make those additions a focus. Having two guitars seemed to suit Destruction pretty well, allowing plenty of opportunity to play melodies and counterparts, both of which make the lengthy 'Reject Emotions' diverting from front to back. Schmier gets in his regulation comedy vocal too, with a gorgeous pre-pubescent squeal on the line "Your love has grown between your legs". Trust me, you'll wish to see his face while he performs it.
Thus, there are two sides to this release. It isn't quite worth tracking down in itself, though it's tasty when coupled with the full-length on the reissue, showing a different side to the band than the purer thrashy speed that they had previously pedaled. The four tracks aren't entirely cohesive, though we must accept that some EPs are simply excuses to throw together material from different sources. There's also something pleasing about hearing German thrash that plays with both melody and lightness: 'The Last Judgement' passes into neoclassical power metal shredding reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, and the balance of brutality and finesse is definitely weighted in favour of the latter. A treat, but not essential.
It is not easy to avoid the track-by-track format when being confronted with an EP whose tracks are all completely different. I accept the challenge and start with the conclusion. This product failed to meet my expectation. In hindsight, it seems as if this EP was the beginning of the end of Destruction in its original form. They had started as a furious high speed machinery, but now they put the focus on technical sophistication. The only new regular track illustrated this change significantly. "Reject Emotions" surprised the listener with a playful intro and unusual rhythms. Straight speed parts did not occur. Nonetheless, in view of the very considerable guitar work, this track constituted the climax of the record. But that was also because two of its competitors did not exceed a mediocre level. Neither the cover version nor the instrumental added value to "Mad Butcher". They appeared as stopgap solutions that were necessary in order to be able to sell an EP. Lukewarm and powerless, they failed to hit the mark. Even after more than 25 years, I still see no reason for the recording of these tunes. However, it became obvious that the pendulum began to swing into the wrong direction. Destruction started to take an interest in the commercial aspects of the business. Comprehensible, but nevertheless annoying.
The good production and especially the lovingly arranged artwork were arguments for buying this EP. But who spends his money for a record because of its cover? I guess that we all know better selling arguments. It was therefore important that the title track presented itself in a new look. The original version had been amazingly good and had not left much room for improvement. But despite this unfavourable condition, the heavily modified tune attracted attention. The essential elements, for example the high speed rhythms, were still existing, but some new facets were added. Among other aspects, the band delivered a higher number of guitar solos. The humorous ending surprised with the Pink Panther theme, for whatever reason. Under the bottom line, this was by no means a musical act of self-mutilation. And yet the ferocity of the original was missing.
The EP has been rereleased on CD and this edition also includes "Eternal Devastation". "Mad Butcher" is a pretty nice addition to this full-length. But it did not stand safely on its own feet.
By the late-80’s, the Teutonic scene was evolving considerably, most bands were eluding the technical vulnerability of the early days, refining their sound and skills, making more serious and professional music – leaving behind the mysticism and controversy of their lyrics, eventually defining their identity. Destruction came out before most of their subgenre compatriots so by 1987 when Mad Butcher was released, they had already introduced changes in their initial musical concept, with Eternal Devastation they went to next level, choosing a totally thrash sound. The group had a unique potential, great inspiration which undoubtedly made a big difference from the many serious rivals around – aware of that, having one of the most incredible guitarists of the scene in their line-up, they realized they were capable of developing a much more technical sound of bigger ambition and difficulty. The addition of a 2nd guitarist and a more competent drummer proved these guys had definitely conceived more pretentious plans.
The incorporation of this new version of their classic “Mad Butcher”, originally recorded on that old legendary Sentence Of Death EP, seems intended to remind the fans that no matter how technically superior their methodology might get, the group will still maintain their predilection for speed and aggression without abusing of melody nor sophistication as some fashionable power/metal trend those days. This version shows no particular differences from the original on its configuration, Schmier & co. follow a similar pattern without introducing special arrangements – yet inevitably, they have become professionals, greater musicians since those old days when they first recorded it, therefore this one sounds more precise on its execution, thrashier, Schmier’s voice cleaner, those solos better designed and guitar lines more solid now that Harry has joined them. But the opening title-track is one exception on an EP that presents a more serious effort than ever before by these Germans at their best. “Reject Emotions” reflects the culmination of all experience, abilities and musicianship the group gained – a substantially complex piece which includes a significant diversity of structures, tempo changes, elaborated instrumental sections, from that lyrical acoustic intro to the vigorous total thrash mid-section, determined by solid riffs and their continuous variations. That’s certainly the most complicated song Destruction ever did to that date, on which they display admirable inspiration, creativity and technique. Actually, the Plasmatics cover also reveals a more advanced attempt, originally surprisingly ambitious on its composition for a punk band in fact, here reaching another level, a distinct essence, thrashier and heavier of course, professionally executed. So the contribution of this new guitarist was proved undoubtedly essential to consolidate the band’s superior sound, with the total shredding cut “The Last Judgement” becomes even clearer Schmier & co. chose the right guy.
Mad Butcher is an introduction to Destruction’s new technical musically richer sound, a huge improvement from the inevitably humble perspective of the debut EP, luckily offering still relentless velocity and ferocity, even though melody and certain refinement are also present on the new songs. These thrashers want to break with the restrictions of the subgenre’s early stage, exploring new patterns and revealing a more explicit reminiscence from alternative music influences, from classical and baroque inspired lines of both Sifringer & Wilkens to the still punkish nature of the most brutal riffs. They’re composing tunes of greater variety of structures, distinct sections of alternative cadence, some getting slightly melodic and progressive – other bringing back the innate roughness of the early records, making a consistent combination of more technical classy thrash without getting necessarily cheesy. “Reject Emotions” speaks for itself, it’s complex, it’s kinda gentle at times but so devastating and dynamic too, Schmier’s vocals are occasionally surprisingly lyrical before soon getting as crude and outrageous as usual – the result of a process that took elements from the most devastating Destruction’s mid-80’s stuff and mixed them with the group’s more tolerant perspective towards melody and sophistication. Now they ain’t trying to play as thrashy and violent as possible, they’re taking into consideration characteristics they directly ignored in the first albums. Schmier & co. know what they’re capable of, technical fragility of the past has been replaced by virtuosism and abilities only practice and experience can provide so they follow a more ambitious direction with wider possibilities. The excellence and versatility of Release From Agony is already presented here, this is where these guys finally became a professional band.
This EP has become one of the most memorable and iconic of the old-school Teutonic scene, still to this day one of the most refreshing and heaviest – representing the enormous progression of the whole German thrash movement by those days, along with Kreator’s Terrible Certainty and Sodom’s Persecution Mania. It was time for all those groups to find their way, to improve their formulas denying the initial minimalism and immaturity. These titles would determine the methodology and direction of the following album on which Destruction reached peaks, also on that immense live record Live Without Sense. If they were already competent as a 3 piece, with the addition of Harry Wilkens & Oliver Kaiser they could make something bigger than ever before - Mad Butcher was only the beginning.
"Mad Butcher" is actually my absolute favorite song ever by Destruction. But because of the date it was released, the production quality was a bit raw sounding. It was a little bit hard to hear the bass on this EP, but the solos by Mike and Harry were phenomenal. They were actually spellbinding. Not the greatest lyrics in the world as I've never favored theirs though on this one they're not tackling anti-Christianity, more of just mental illness and killing pretty much. The Plasmatics cover was actually well done. This EP actually features 2 new members, Harry and Olly. They also play on 'Live Without Sense' and 'Release From Agony.'
The guitars were the highlight, I wouldn't say Schmier is at his best--he seemed less intense and not so invigorated. That's why I gave this EP a B- rating. The production again wasn't the greatest, the overall aura of the EP was grim, but not like on 'Infernal Overkill.' Just a little bit under 20 minutes of music that's well played out. Harry just shreds amazingly. I've heard that when he was active with the band he practiced the guitar 15 hours a day! I wouldn't be surprised if that were true. He simply plays some amazing leads and Mike puts forth a good effort as well, just not as sharp as Harry in the lead department. He does a good job on here however.
All of the songs on this EP were well played out. Just the production could've been a little tighter, but I am guessing it's because they were on a low budget. It's not surprising especially since they've never changed their style of music. Can't go wrong really with any old Destruction. They used to play some really original stuff, nowadays they seem to be playing the same thing over and over. It's good that they reformed, but they just need something new. The sound is thrash, just on their older stuff they really put forth a great effort on constructing songs that are fresh material and original. They've always been original, just now with their newer albums they've gone stale.
It would be good to hear them as a 4-piece again, but I doubt that'll ever happen again. All they do now is play as a 3-piece and have guest lead guitarists because Mike can't really hack it on lead anymore. Not that he was ever that great in that respect, but at least on here and other older albums he seemed more intense and could shred a lot faster. Now it's just repeating the same stuff. Here you hear arpeggios, tapping, speed picking and sweeps by Harry mostly and Olly behind the set shows more talent than Tommy ever did. He's got more energy behind the set and seems to grasp the band's intensity. The only instrumental is the last track.
I wish that Destruction could come together again and write some good new thrash that's worth listening to. 'Spiritual Genocide' was absolutely boring as was 'Day of Reckoning.' I only found 'All Hell Breaks Loose' to be a good comeback album and original songwriting that's not boring. It has that energy back that they once had like on this EP and other 80's releases. They really need to do something terrific with their newer material. Make it great like on their old stuff and not keep putting out stuff that's monotonous. It really would be a boon to the band if they were able to be back making some good new thrash metal like they used to. 'Mad Butcher' is a good pick up!
Destruction's 1987 Mad Butcher EP not only sees a fresh paint of coat on one of their all-time, classic tracks, but gives the titular mascot his first iconic appearance 'in the flesh', as it were. Hell, Kreator already had the devil for their mascot, so why not go for a more original spokesperson in the pudgy, cruel-browed balding psycho killer that helped put them on the map? I don't often go out for 'remakes' of songs, and I had no problem with the original "Mad Butcher" from Sentence of Death, despite its raw and crunchy tone, but I'll make an exception in this case, since this EP's edition has likely become the preferred version. However, I will admit that the metalized version of the "Pink Panther" theme which is used as a quirky suffix to this version is wholly unnecessary.
Thankfully, there is more to Mad Butcher than just its title track, and "Reject Emotions" is alone worth the price of admission. Another of those lengthy, fleshed out pieces like "Curse the Gods" or "Life Without Sense" from the previous album, it survives a raunchy clean and 'emotional' vocal verse over the acoustic/lead intro sequence to deliver a juggernaut of bright, superb riffing and a great chorus, Schmier compensating for his earlier adequacy in the track. There is also the amazing neo-classical shred instrumental "The Last Judgement" which displays the influence of traditional European composers on Mike Sifringer's performance, but he's not alone here, as the band had hired Harry Heinrich Wilkens to join him. This is by far the best instrumental that this particular thrash band has committed to disc, and beautiful. Fleshing out the release is a cover of The Plasmatics' "The Damned", from their Coup d'Etat album. It's pretty simple comparative to the Destruction originals, but Schmier does a great turn as a wretched, caustic alternative to Wendy O Williams, and it's pretty atmospheric. The bass solo is just sick.
Of course, this is another of those short form releases which has been re-issued with a neighboring album, and it'd be rare to find someone who doesn't have the version attached to Eternal Devastation. But there are some notable differences, and like Sodom's Expurse of Sodomy or Kreator's Out of the Light...Into the Dark, it surely stands apart and is worth the time and cash of any collector to acquire, especially if he/she is hell bent on having the original formats. "The Damned" isn't necessarily mediocre, but it's possibly the one element of this EP that isn't a big draw. The re-recording of "Mad Butcher", the instrumental and "Reject Emotions" are all fairly essential Destruction, and the contents truly set up the clinical, complex musicianship of the band's next album, Release from Agony, which is impressive if mildly flawed in places.
After just one year from the great album Eternal Devastation, Destruction are back and another little piece of thrash metal history is achieved. This little but significant EP features just four tracks but the quality is always high. Now the band is in shape and they are growing as musicians and we can hear it album after album, year after year. That was the best period for the band before the split and the reunion and these tracks are again some of their most representative ones.
Without further introductions, let’s get straight to the music. This EP starts with the incredibly dynamic and schizophrenic riff of another classic in the Destruction’s discography: “Mad Butcher”. The tempo is fast and the production follows the same path of the previous albums with sharp and essential sounds even if this time the guitars have a heavier and more compact sound. All it’s made to be the most simple as possible and the band is truly compact. Schmier is still great at the vocals with his raspy tonality and the high pitched and short screams to mark out some parts. The riffs are intricate as always with lots, lots of palm muting riffs and drastic tempo changes.
The following is a Plasmatic cover and it’s pretty damn good because it conserves that gloom and somehow apocalyptic felling of the original. The tempo on this song is more mid-paced by the beginning to grow in some parts. The melodies by the guitars are this time more evident and they achieved the goal of transforming them in a kind of speed metal ones. Great. In some parts I rather prefer this version instead of the original one. The solos are always very good and with Destruction you cannot go wrong. “Reject Emotions” always remembered me a composition by Flotsam and Jetsam, especially during the introspective part by the beginning. It’s made of melodic and sad arpeggios and it turns to thrash while it goes on.
In a long song like this one, the tempo changes are always numerous and essential, even if it’s not total impact. It’s more focused on less impulsive paces and the riffs are always great because truly relentless and more bound to speed. The final “The Last Judgement” is an instrumental song and the arpeggios have something mystical and apocalyptic, following the title of the song. The solos are incredibly numerous and the dark melodies they create are simply amazing. At the end, I must say that this is an EP that worth at least a listen. It contains some classics by this band.
"Mad Butcher" is a really nice EP from destruction, it's includes their well known
"Mad Butcher" song which eventually created their famous 'Butcher' trade mark,
a great cover for a punk song [which really sounds better then the original], a decent riffing assault ['Reject Emotions'] and forgettable instrumental which clocks a bit after 3 minutes.
"Mad Butcher," the first song of the EP, is a Destruction classic, but this version is much better than the earlier one from the 'Sentence of Death' EP. It's faster, more aggressive, better produced and the vocals improved a lot, 'Schimer' sounds much more biting now and he only improved this song. "The Damned" is a cover song ,as I said above, but in my opinion this is the best song here! It begins with
a mid tempo riffs and then it becomes a bit faster in the catchy bridge with maybe something that sounds similar to a choir, and then comes an awesome chorus. Then it's the same verse and bridge but after the chorus everything explodes into a blazing guitar work from both of the guitarists which step up this song a bit with their amazing soloing. 'Reject Emotions" is a good song, but it doesn't has the same perception of the first two songs. The last song is a poor mix of average riffs and nothing more interesting.
In the bottom line: this is a short but decent EP. 4 tracks which clocks at 17 minutes, 2 of them really good, the third is average and the last one is boring.
It isn't a bad EP, it's actually a good one but there isn't too much here which
worth your attention. If you aren't a fan of destruction then try their 'Release from Agony' LP to get a better point of view about the band. If you are a fan of them...
well, guess you already have it don't you? After all, this is THE MAD BUTCHER!
So, after an EP and two full lengths, Destruction put out one more EP, "Mad Butcher". Right from the great looking cover, you know you're in for some serious insane fun here, and the promise is kept right from the first second.
The first guitar (killer) riff breaks the silence on its own for some seconds, then... "MAD BUTCHEERRR!!!", and the Thrashfest begins: crazy guitars, pounding beats and Schmier's raw madman vocals (I'm not a big fan of his sudden high pitched inserts, but it's a matter of taste) blaze their way into the lengthy (for a Thrash song) title track. The prodcution is, of course, pretty raw and flat, but the power of the performance, extremely tight and cohesive, comes across untouched... which is a great thing, because you don't want to miss an inch of its intensity. Both the verse and the chorus are backed by crushing riffs, and yet the best still lies ahead... after the second verse, we are greeted by the album's first solo, followed by a great break paired by a fucking hilarious verse ("You lie on your bed, your view real seems great / But instead of his prick / He's drawing his blade ")... then the Thrash flows free again, and more and more red hot solos follow. You may have heard of Mike Sifringer as one of the best guitarists in the Thrash scene. Know that it's true. The scetion closes with a dual guitar harmony which brings in an extra dose of melody without sacrificing speed - mindblowing.
Oh yeah, and check out the guitar riff that come sin after the song's false ending... the Pink Panther Theme???? Cracks me up!
Next is a cover by The Plasmatics, namely "The Damned". This song begins with a much slower pace, Schmier even tries a more clean singing, an dthere are even distant monk-style chantings in the bridges. Weird, but there are some great melodies going on here. The chorus picks up the pace a bit, but after that, everything returns to the original ominous atmosphere... until, after the third bridge, we are kicked by a sudden rhythm boost. What follows is another collection of superb solos, and in the break after this part there's even a brief HARMONIZED bass solo break from Schmier! One last chorus at a higher pace than the first, and there goes "The Damned".
The third track is the EP's longest and most varied, "Reject Emotions". This one begins with an acoustic guitar riff (yes, an ACOUSTIC riff), and goes on like taht for a while... until Schmier breaks up: "Your love has grown between your leeeeegs!!". YOu guessed it: killer riffs attack. This one isn't as fast as the title track, but Oliver nails a great heavy rhythm on kit, and you'll definitely find yourself banging your head between a burst of laughter and the other (the lyrics of this song include lines such as "Don't need a love romance / All you want is something to ride / Princess you wanna open your legs / It is time to show you my way of love"), especially during the great chorus riff ("Reject emotions!! Satisfy your feelings!!", etc.). After the second chorus, a lengthy instrumental section kicks in, opening with a rhythm change which gives room to a load of - guess what? - great riffs (listen how Schmier's bass closely follows Mike's guitar, is that a solid performance or what?), then the speed breaks through again and great solos lead into the last chorus. Intense? Hell yeah.
"Mad Butcher" closes on the notes of "The Last Judgement", which is, technically speaking, an instrumental outro, but more in depth, it's a true work of art. This piece is basically centered on some totally insane guitar melodies, and incorprates brief acoustic passages, sparse percussion and even choir-like keyboards as it moves along. The hyperfast melodic guitar line that opens the track and returns at the end is something Yngwie would kill to have in his repertoire, and has a lot of tonality changes going on within it, a kind of song within the song. Unbelievable.
Do I really need to say anything more? Yes, I do: thanks to SPV's reissues, this tasty EP comes packed with the equally great "Eternal Devastation" album in one single cd. So you really have no excuse for skipping this one.