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No, Schmier has not suddenly turned into a decent thrash metal shouter, his silly rasp is as weak as ever. And the lyrics are as absurd as we’ve come to expect from Destruction. At one point Schmier makes us contemplate the difference between ‘emotions’ and ‘feelings’. Am I to assume that he is familiar with the outdated concept of faculty psychology? Don’t worry, everyone has to google that one.
Now, there are two basic kinds of EPs. You have your Lands which have been hordanesed (what?), your Nuns which can’t get no fun, your Chapels being haunted. You know, the watertight mini-albums that play as well-rounded wholes, despite being temporally challenged. Then there are the hodge-podge EPs. See under ‘Amorphis’ for those. Mad Butcher, my friends, is for all intents and purposes a hodge-podge EP… that plays like a well-rounded whole anyway. What this means is that they’ve culled material from different sources – there is a re-recording, a cover, a new song, and what is essentially a soloing exercise – but the consistency of sound and clever song placement keep this thing together.
It helps that this is a much tighter Destruction than previously displayed. The addition of Harry on guitars, which helped fill out the sound, and an above average drummer called Olly might not have sat well with the keep-it-raw crowd, but I for one think that it finally made possible the transition from Potential Pastures to the Forests of Fuck-yes-this-rules.
The biggest improvement for Destruction on this EP is in that they finally sound integrated as a band. One problem of the previous three releases was the ramshackle feel of the music, and not in a good way, either. Whenever I listen to those, despite all their qualities, there is that nagging feeling that the band is about to fall apart at any moment. The guitarwork, which has always been Destruction’s most shining attribute, seemed isolated and lonely on those records, while the riffs seemed strung together, and often incidental to the songs. Not here. You need not look further than the re-recording of ‘Mad Butcher’. It’s a wonder how you can transform a riffset into an actually appealing song just by tightening the screws and oiling the machine.
This applies to Schmier’s vocals, as well. Deep down he’s his old self, and still the weakest link of the band, and taken on its own, his voice is still a nuisance. However, Kalle Trap seems to have found a place in the mix for ol’ Marcel’s horrible yelp, which makes for a relatively smooth ride. The only bumps would be the intro and the chorus of “Reject Emotions” (yeah that’s the metaphysical one), where Schmier of old rears his puffy head. Frustratingly enough, it’s also the best song on the EP, with the most exciting riffs and song-structure.
Another important trait of this EP is variety. The two quintessential Destruction thrashers with their slightly bizarre riff-architecture are offset by the guitarfest in the form of the closing instrumental “The Last Judgement”, and the Plasmatics cover which is at once simpler, moodier and more rock’n’roll. It’s worth repeating that different songwriting styles here do not pull the album apart, on the contrary. It seems that the introduction of these elements, previously alien to Destruction, made for a much more compelling listen, as it played into the bands strengths, while freeing them of repetitiveness which they were prone to in the past.
And so, for about 19 minutes in 1987, Destruction nearly turned into the best thrash metal band in the world (stay tuned to find out who was the best of the best that year). I guess 19 minutes of Destruction is all anyone needs in one sitting, which doesn’t speak well for the band’s career as a whole. Whatever the case may be, Mad Butcher caught the band in that beautiful place between the charming, but flawed early releases and the relatively professional, but listless albums to follow. In that name, and in the name of all of us who feel dirty whenever someone mentions a live album as a band’s best, I proclaim this the absolutely undeniable highlight of their discography. Thank you, and goodnight.
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.