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Destructive, Yet Diminishing Returns - 58%

InfinityX, July 24th, 2013

Were I to have reviewed this album within a few weeks after I purchased it like a year and a half ago, I would be in the same boat as the reviews below me. This album undoubtedly succeeds at what it goes for. I mean look at that album cover! A re-imagination of the magma skull from Infernal Overkill that's so fucking metal, its head is exploding and it’s shooting lava, into lava! m/ Then the rear cover has the band standing with their mascot the butcher, dressed in studded leather, and Schmier is holding a motherfucking chainsaw!

And the music contained within is more than heavy enough to live up to any expectations one would have after seeing that. If you read any review for this album on any site, then I need not tell you of how ravaged you will be after playing the first two tracks on here. Thrash 'til Death and Nailed to the Cross are indeed classics, and are instantly memorable after listening to them once. That hammering bass that slams you between the guitars of the opening and main riff of Thrash 'til Death which segues perfectly from the rather effective narrative intro is just head banging bliss. The thrash references are fun too, though the bad has since gone a bit overboard with this....

Nailed to the Cross offers more head banging greatness, and the more melodic bridge is just perfect amidst all the mayhem. At this point the album is still in good shape. Repeated listens have aged these two tracks very little, and I can still enjoy them almost as much as at first (though the repetitive choruses show their age more by being much less exciting). It's the songs AFTERWARDS that really never pick up much slack. There are a good number of memorable riffs, like the great grooves of Meet Your Destiny, with that sweet mid-paced climbing riff, or the steadily escalating energy of the closer The Heretic.

I really can slice the riffs down to two categories; the unforgettable, and the ones that skirt by without the slightest notice. We obviously have the two openers that are just instant classics. Then Dictators of Cruelty has a good aggressive chorus, ending with a memorable vocal effected yelp, but has no real moments musically that stick out. Bullets from Hell has a great speedy riff to it, but the vocal lines get tiring very quickly, and this was probably the first track that decayed in my mind. Strangulated Pride has a nice rhythm, but is pretty repetitive, with again, pretty poor vocal lines.

Side 2 of this album is where I struggle to even remember what the songs are, and minus the tracks I already pointed out, they all have flaws. In the end the only real highlights are the first two tracks, with Meet Your Destiny and The Heretic being great four star tracks. The rest are not bad songs, but offer little to stick out and give repeated listens.

I think I know why. This album set off to annihilate you. For most of us, that has happened well before we get to the weakest tracks on the album. Making that worse is that the weakest tracks are not different enough from the other tracks to get their own identity. They all are just thrashing madness. Few moments that change up the pace or experiment a little. Now there’s nothing wrong with an album that just beats you down the whole album, but it's not working on this album due to the similarity of the riff and vocal patterns, the lack of memorable leads, and probably most of all, though Schmier's vocals are effective, they lack that madness that makes a true ripping thrash album pop.

The mix here however is fucking spotless, with a wrecking ball bass tone, and a surgical guitar tone. The high fidelity ends up taking away any gritty, creepy atmosphere that the album may have had, though with the pretty juvenile lyrics, that probably never would have happened. This album isn't horrible, and I do still revisit it every few moons, but it does not bring nearly enough satisfaction after the first few tracks. I think the band has been psyched out by how good the first two songs are, and have now dug themselves a rut. Instead of growing or expanding their sound, they just try to recreate Thrash 'til Death again and again. Until the band gets its act together, I'm gonna stick with the total desaster that is the mad butcher, who has an eternal ban on a life without sense.... Or whatever... You know what I mean!

For a destructive sound that ages with repeated listens, The Antichrist gets a 58 or a three out of five.
Highlights:
Nailed to the Cross
Thrash 'til Death
Meet Your Destiny
The Heretic

The metal equivalent to the middle finger - 100%

autothrall, March 1st, 2011

Many seem compelled to call The Antichrist the 'comeback' album for Destruction, but this not chronologically nor logically the case. The sound here is one lifted straight from its predecessor, All Hell Breaks Loose, but pummeled into perfection. That album was a fresh act of violence borne from a stagnant musical relationship, while this is like a freight train hitting you at a thousand miles an hour, a mushroom cloud being formed over your conscience, an instant window to everything you loved about this band in the 80s and then some. Yes, folks, it's time to dust off that trap door in the basement, stock up on canned beans and hide the children, because prolonged exposure to The Antichrist will melt your face off, and incinerate all the loved ones surrounding you. In fact, it's most likely the greatest thrash metal effort yet released in the 21st century.

This is not praise I lavish lightly upon anything, because the genre is perhaps my most beloved and I seem to take it far more seriously than most. It's not a joke to me, and it's far more than a fashion statement. It's perhaps the most energetic and relevant of all metal substrata, but it very often needs a swift kick in the ass to prove so, since so many of the younger practitioners seem to focus solely on a few of the peripheral elements like getting drunk and looking cool in clothes that were long out of style years before they had even achieved an embryonic state. The Antichrist is just such a swift kick in the ass, and though it does arguably bear one nostalgic, self-referential statement as its flagship, it is largely the product of both social and political unrest that defines most of the very best material in this genre. Destruction were older, wiser, and wicked pissed (pardon the Boston in me), and this is the ultimate, unrestrained manifestation of their wrath upon the unsuspecting, passive, sheepish multitude.

This is accomplished with a tone as hard as steel girders being lobbed from a high rise down upon the audience, crushing spines and craniums aplomb. Special credit must be given to the Abyss Studios' and Hypocrisy/Pain mogul Peter Tägtgren for producing and recording the finest work of his studio career, because the mix easily surpasses All Hell Breaks Loose and clings to the remarkable songwriting like leathery plates to a mutant armadillo, protected it across the nuclear landscape while allowing it to better impact the feral hostiles it voraciously tramples. Actually, an armadillo does not do The Antichrist justice. It's more like the bony frills of a triceratops. Truly an impressive work of engineering which perfectly places into perspective the storming payload of Sven Vormann's percussion, the unfathomable riffing riots of Mike Sifringer, and both the bottom end sewage and malicious bark of Marcel Schirmer.

All of this might seem meaningless without the songs to match the unparalleled sonic muster, but The Antichrist has them to spare. Remember when thrash metal albums had songs that you could repeat over and over in your head and to your friends until they hated your fucking guts? Remember the 80s? It seemed like such an advent was prehistoric in 2001, so the Germans decided it was time to unshelf the practice and return it to the fore, so the catchy acoustics and cheesy, endearing pitch-shifted narration of the "Days of Confusion" intro herald a track that would immediately launch itself into history, and probably every Destruction setlist since: "Thrash 'Til Death". The title had been used before, and in all honesty, if it were not one of the original 80s bands doing this, I might have felt the purpose of the track fairly sour. Thankfully, in the hands of this trio, it's simply amazing, with inspirational lyrics that pay tribute to both the loyal thrash fans and artists...

A brief flyby will reveal references in the lyrics to Exodus, Kreator, Possessed, Overkill, Living Death and of course Destruction themselves in what might be the most thinly veiled, shameless self-promotion in thrash history, and the chorus of 'Immortal soul, takes control, immortal soul, thrash 'til death!' is one that would be instantly glued to everyone's tongue. But we're only one song in, and the bastards have more in store, starting immediately with the brick laying rhythms of "Nailed to the Cross", manifest through stampeding guitars and a chorus that dwarfs even its predecessor, one of the greatest (if too obvious) anti-Christian anthems in history, even more entertaining than the bands' own "Curse the Gods". Even the admittedly rock breakdown in the bridge at about 2:00 is good, with Schmier weaving his bass lines like a barbwire fence into the pick-up riff before the final chorus. Already, within about 8 minutes of its existence, this album has propelled itself into the annals of legend, and yet rather than settle on their laurels and pad the content with a slew of filler, there is no end to the violent jubilation.

"Dictators of Cruelty" has a lot of the forward thrust reminiscent of something written for Artillery's By Inheritance or B.A.C.K., while "Bullets from Hell" creates a granite, circular, complex rhythm that makes it impossible to sit still, you just want to bang your head so hard and throw your seat into the nearest window. "Strangulated Pride", "Creations of the Underworld" and "The Heretic" all barrel through the mix like 18 wheelers on autopilot, racing straight to a stockpile of explosives, but there are also some finely executed deviations like the winding, exotic scaling course of "Meet Your Destiny", the feisty muted grooves and discordant gleams within "Let Your Mind Rot", and perhaps even greater, the tasteful, voluptuous onslaught of "Godfather of Slander", which takes yet another compulsive lunge at the Church, or rather a particular individual within its questionable eaves.

42 minutes of calculated concussion. No filler to be found anywhere. Simple and yet strangely effective lyrics. A formula of devastation so assured and convincing that Destruction have been using it repeatedly since (with diminishing returns, since few of their later songs hit home quite so hard). This album is so good that one wonders how much we'd been robbed in the 90s when Schimier and Sifringer had gone their separate ways. Try and imagine if The Antichrist had come out in 1991. It might have saved the entire genre for the next 10 years (irony intended). Then what might they have been capable of in the next century? Well, perhaps I'm sobbing in the spilled milk at such theory, but there's no question that this album at least helped spark a thrash resurgence in the past decade, even if so few other bands have been able to come close to its level of polish and hostility. If you don't own this, you are wrong.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Destruction - The Antichrist - 90%

Orbitball, March 3rd, 2010

In 2001, German thrash metal legends return once again with another solid release. After their previous effort entitled "All Hell Breaks Loose", they put forth one of their most admirable records of all time. Refusing to compromise and give up their genre in order to sell records, Destruction has achieved a high level of success amongst the thrash metal fan scene. Two original members still remain with the band, and lay dynamite on the metal crowd. The lineup on here features frontman Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer on bass/vocal duties, Mike Sifringer plays both rhythm/lead guitar and Sven Vormann is behind the set on drums. The same band members that played on their previous album are also on here. There are two guest vocalists; Peter Tagtgren and Masse volunteering for very brief contributions.

An epic, clean tone rhythm guitar melody opens the album alongside a devilish sounding spoken piece accompanied with it. It segues into the second track; of which, paves the way of how the rest of the album is going to sound. Fresh and distorted rhythm guitar riff gallops are quite well pieced together alongside the bridge and chorus for the song "Thrash 'til Death." The music is well grouped together with Schmier's vocal outputs. There is a lot of energy put forth on this album. The creative guitar bits by Mike reflects the Destruction of the 1980s era. The riffs are very well constructed. It is a close call as far as what to consider as a better release, "All Hell Breaks Loose" or this one. The guitar is a little more technical here; therefore, this release seems to be a stronger effort then their previous one.

Musically speaking, each song is very aggressive. It carries with it structures which are quite technical. Again, the main rhythm guitar work follows the vocals with precision. Another good example of this is on track three entitled "Nailed To The Cross." The bridge and chorus factor in very well, and the aggressive vocals by Schmier screaming the words "nailed to the fuckin' cross" is quite a smash to the listeners' brain. His vocal outputs are more fierce here than their previous onslaught. It does fit Mike's guitar riffing; from the musical standpoint at least. It's really amazing that only a little more than a year after their prior release they were able to come up with fresh, strikingly new thrash metal songs.

In terms of the sound, the album has a good crisp vibe to it. Each instrument and vocal output are very well mixed together by Peter Tagtgren. There were only a few negative things that I hold overall on this release. The first one is Mike's guitar leads; they aren't very well executed. He seems to really just improvise on each solo without exhibiting any sort of arpeggios or sweep picking. If he just stuck with the rhythm guitar, this album would be next to perfect. The second complaint that I have is the lyrical topics that Schmier focuses on. They are about religion being a joke, some tracks about politics and lastly talking about heavy metal music in general. They aren't very well thought out, yet I suppose that it's the concept he tries to convey with his songwriting. The U.S. version of the album doesn't feature any cover songs. The Japanese one; however, features two live tracks and a cover of the punk band The Exploited.

In summation, Destruction puts forth another solid display of thrash metal to their discography. It's definitely a good thing that the band decided to get back together. After a decade of silence during the 1990s, their decision to return as a band is great. This holds true especially for longtime fans. Some other good pieces to check out here are "Bullets From Hell" and "Godfather of Slander." All of the songs have their strong points to them. This album is very innovative and intricate. Their highest achievement; as previously mentioned, exists on how unique they were able to link the guitar work alongside the bridge and chorus sections. With this brilliance, each song shines and contains admirable thrash metal quality. Aggressive, original and a unique sound makes this release to be among one of their finest.

Destruction nailed it... to the FUCKING CROSS! - 100%

FragKrag, February 3rd, 2009

Destruction has truly conceived a masterpiece. I do not like giving out 100%, but I feel this album deserves it. You take a quick browse down the album, and listen to it for a while. You ask yourself "Why didn't I hear about this album in the 80s?". Well sir, that's because it came out in... 2001! Thrash bands are never good at comebacks. Just look at Megadeth, Metallica, and Testament.. they all produced mediocre/bad albums that are considered weak, and "un"thrash. Well, Destruction has stunned us... all of us. Any metal head taking a look at this album will go "Great, another shitty comeback album!". Well, comeback album it is, shitty it is not.

Simply scanning down the track list, songs like "Nailed to the Cross", "Dictators Of Cruelty", "Bullets from Hell", and "Let Your Mind Rot" immediately grab your attention. Once I saw the track list, I was already set on buying this album. There is simply no way the album could have been angrier or more aggressive.

Everything about this album is perfect. Whether it be Schmiers aggressive, and angry vocals, the lyrics that are completely filled with anger, or Sifringer's incredible riff work. This album has absolutely no short comings. The Antichrist simply cannot be denied as the undisputed comeback album King.

The productions is very clean and crisp. The guitars are extremely sharp and edged. The drums are blasting, and the vocals are clear. Every single riff seems to give you a kick in the jaw. Waking up to one of the songs on this album would definitely be an experience! Overall, there is absolutely no sacrifice of speed. Every minute is completely packed with as many units as possible, and the amazing thing is that it doesn't sound like complete noise... Talk about efficiency! Destruction does not like to waste their album space on useless junk!

As with just about every Destruction release, this album is completely filled with light speed, technical riffs. I suppose many of these "riffs" could be considered solos in other, lesser songs! "Thrash Till Death", "Nailed to the Cross", "Bullets from Hell".. and just about every other song contain some of the greatest riffs ever written by mankind. Personally, I think if you played this on surround sound to a non-metal head, said person's head would explode. There is just so much power packed into 42 minute album.

The vocals and lyrics are all amazing. The lyrics ooze with anger, power, and that good "thrash" stuff. It sounded like the '80s were coming back again! Many bands loose their steam with lyrics *cough* megadeth metallica *cough*, and some simply become boring, but Destruction manages to captivate with Schmier's voice and the lyrics. Religion, politics, and war... the three themes that every thrash band seems to have written about. They are present on this album too, but Destruction manages to keep it fresh by being more angry, and faster than their competition!

I think "Creations of the Underworld" describes it best as "Sonic mayhem". Every song is quite simply.. amazing. The albums is indeed flawless.

If you are a thrasher, and you don't own this album, I suggest you punch yourself in the face. Simply put, this album is a pinnacle of thrash. The epitome of perfection, and it is among the best of thrash. If you are angry, and you want something to let it out, I suggest that you purchase this album immediately and let some of it out headbanging to this masterpiece. Destruction really have outdone themselves on this album.

NAIL TO THE FUCKING CROSS!

The Coronation of their Comeback - 92%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, November 8th, 2008

All Hell Breaks Loose marked a great comeback for one of the biggest bands in thrash metal. After having passed through lots of difficulties and problems, the Destruction true line-up was back together again and in 2001 Schmier and Mike are ready to show us their rage, power and strength once more. The Antichrist is the definitive confirm of a band that, since the reunion, is in perfect shape and has reacquired the power and the thrash metal style of the old days.

The year 2001 will be remembered also for other great comebacks in this filed, especially if we consider the German trio and this Antichrist is the Destruction’s one. The precedent album also displayed a new production for this band because the years have passed and now the methods of production are far different. Once again Destruction decided to get back to the Abyss studios to record this new effort and the result is just astonishing. On these tracks the power of the instruments is multiplied for ten in terms of volumes and distortion.

Lots of people say there’s something Swedish in the production too and I partially agree with them. The sounds are sharp, massive and bombastic, even more powerful than the ones on the previous album. “Days of Confusion” is a prelude to the massacre with “Thrash Till Death”. I’ve got a limited edition of this album with a wrong order of the songs and I must go through them in order to give you the right impact of the right version (mine was the one with a wrong colour on the slip case, it’s rare and I love it). By the way, the galloping riffs are again old school, nasty and powerful. The up tempo parts are invincible for speed and style.

The vocals by Schmier are always raspy with that childish, schizophrenic timbre that was the main characteristic in the past and still is now. “Nailed to the Cross” displays all its burden of anger towards the Christianity and its idols through ferocious vocals, massive up tempo parts and a catchy chorus. Schmier seems really pissed off with this religion and the band follows the same style on the instruments. The more melodic break by the middle is astounding and this song can be considered another gem in Destruction’s career. Actually, half of the songs here are truly modern classics by this band.

It’s impossible not to resist to another explosion of violence like “Dictators of Cruelties”. Even the more mid-paced parts are full of riffs. By the way, it’s my opinion that Mike has changed a bit its style on the guitars, playing more straight riffs and fewer scales I think. Anyway, his riffs are always nasty and with that production behind them, they are unmatchable. In a semi mid-paced song like “Bullets from Hell”, the real up tempo parts are blowing and there is a sort of Release From Agony worshipping will. “Strangulated Pride” is another explosion with always catchy and relentless riffs.

If “Meet your Destiny” is a bit less impulsive in terms of speed, it has a great riffs work and the bass drum lines are really unstoppable. “Creations of the Underworld” is made of brutal stop and go parts where the bass is more audible in all its metallic distortion and “Godfather of a Slander” is a return to canonical speed with schizophrenic riffs and a catchy chorus. The atmosphere is even gloomier on this track due to some distorted parts. “Let Your Mind Rot” is bit calmer to announce the drums intro of the violent “The Heretic” that once again brings Destruction the high levels of nastiness.

Coming to the end of my review, I can only say that this is one of the best albums by this band. It contains some classis and generally the songs are always high in terms of songwriting. The band is truly devastating and we can hear it. It’s like they needed a period of stop to charge the batteries again and return to high levels.

NAILED TO THE FUCKING CROSS!!! - 97%

MegaHassan, November 3rd, 2008

Truth be told, I don't like Destruction's “essential” 80's output as much as my fellow metalheads do. So, naturally, I was skeptical about this album. If I couldn't appreciate Destruction's 80's output, how could I possibly appreciate this album?

I was actually surprised by how this album made me bang my head. The closest Destruction came to making me bang my head with full force was in Cracked Brain. I was also surprised by the consistency Destruction displayed in this album. All the tracks are good, and there isn't a second of filler. Every riff, every drum beat, and just every second of this album is pure gold.

The production is very clean, similar to most modern thrash. The guitars are sharp and brutal. The drum sound is perhaps a bit loud but suits the “new” Destruction. The bass isn't as audible as it was in Destruction's early material but its still quite audible nonetheless.

Now onto the music itself. All the songs are actually very similar and Destruction don't focus too much on variety. The band seemed content with packing songs with memorable riffs and great lyrics. The first three songs (after the intro) are the immediate standout songs. Destruction pay homage to the thrash metal movement in Thrashed 'Til Death and also include a reference to Exodus's Bonded By Blood. Nailed To The Cross and Dictators of Cruelty have the best riffs in the entire album.

The best part about the album is the great choruses. The choruses are catchy and brutal at the same time. How cool is that? I was actually screaming the chorus of Nailed To The Cross at the top of my lungs the first time I heard it, and I'm the type of person who refuses to sing along to any chorus.

The lyrics are excellent, the best that Destruction have ever written in my humble opinion. The lyrics (with the exception of Thrashed 'Til Death) deal mainly with the issues of religion, politics and war. Overused topics, yes, but Destruction really outdid themselves. The lyrics are every bit as good as the songs themselves.

There isn't much to say about the album other than what I've already said. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys a good dose of brutal and catchy thrash.

Pure neckbreaking thrash! - 93%

Shred1921, August 13th, 2004

Ah, The Antichrist. This is the epitome of what modern thrash should sound like. This is/was the best thrash album released in the new millenium (now only surpassed/equaled by Exodus' Tempo Of The Damned).

This record is a pure, all-out, German thrash assault. Right from top to bottom, this record pummels your senses and beats you into the ground. All these songs are incredibly powerful; loaded with blistering thrash riffs, driving double bass and frantic snare work, along with Schmier's relentless basslines and shrieking vocals.

Mike's guitarwork is positively frenetic. The riffs are blinding, coming at you from all sides, along with some fast-paced soloing on some tracks. And, right out of nowhere, it's not out of the ordinary for him to throw in a little melodic piece overtop of a riff. This is all total mid-80's classic style song structure and riffage.

Marc destroys his drumkit throughout, with fresh chops, insanely tight and brutal double-kick work, with some great originality and obviously (in true Destruction style) tons of snare mashing. Check out the beginning of "The Heretic" for a sweet, shortened "Painkiller" style drum intro. Crushing.

Schmier's bass is incredibly fast through this whole album, rolling right along with the frantic riffage. He throws in his own little bits here and there to keep things interesting. The vocals are also classic Schmier style: shrieking, very aggressive, but also supremely controlled.

The production on this album is nearly flawless for such a frantic record. The guitars sound punchy and aggressive, the bass is definitely very audible, rumbling along in the low centre, right where it should be. The drums are a perfect volume, not over-powering the other instruments in any way. The vocals are well placed, with some well-used effects here and there. Destruction has always employed a classic production style, and this is no different.

All the songs on this record are all-out thrashers, but the first few really stick out to me as instant thrash classics. The first track (well, "Days Of Confusion" is a small intro to the first track) "Thrash Till Death" is just plain brutal, a true relentless assault and homage to classic thrash bands. The cornerstone of the album for me is certainly the next song, "Nailed To The Cross." There's something wholly satisfying about breaking your neck while yelling "NAILED TO THE FUCKING CROSS!!!" at the top of your lungs. Pure metal goodness, and the final moshing breakdown is just crazy. As we move into the meat of the album, "Dictators Of Cruelty" has a real thrash anthem-esque quality to it, and near the end, "Godfather Of Slander" punishes the listener with some great vocal lines: "Godfather of slander! Why don't you FUCKING surrender?!"

All in all, an incredibly well done record that's just classic, straight up thrash, no more, no less. Take it for what it is; truly one of Destruction's greatest moments.

This is how modern thrash should be done - 86%

UltraBoris, August 8th, 2002

It's heavier than a van full of anvils, more brutal than being anally raped by a rhinoceros... and it's got riffs down the throat. Yes, kids, it's a thrash album!!! Which must be stated explicitly, since most "thrash" albums nowadays seem to forget the cool riffs. (i.e. Testament "The Gathering", and also bands that really want to be thrash, but aren't, like The Haunted.)

This album has riffs. Lots of fucking riffs - and over that, there is the insane vocals of Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer. This is the best that Destruction has put out yet - there are no silly moments like on Infernal Overkill where you just have to wonder "What are they doing, and when will they stop playing this crappy, utterly forgettable riff?" Here, all the riffs are memorable, and the songs are totally catchy as well. It's almost comparable to "Eternal Nightmare" in that regard, in that after about the 3rd time through, you will remember all the melody lines, and be happily headbanging your way to an early grave.

Highlights: "Bullets from Hell" - oh my, this one just fucking makes you want to set the world afire. Thrash banging mania!! "Creations of the Underworld" (nice riff in the chorus, between "Creations of" and "The underworld), "Thrash 'til Death" (find all the classic thrash references, win a prize), and "Nailed to the Cross" (nailed to the FUCKING cross! It's cheap, but effective aggression, especially with the riffs to back it up) - pretty much everything on here is a winner.