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Let me first explain that my score of 60% isn't because this is a horrible live album. On the contrary, it's quite good. The album is gathered from 2 live shows mixed together, the first being from the Wacken 2007 gig and the second from a Tokyo gig. The production is outstanding. But....
Destruction has put out a handful of live material over the years, be it album or dvd. The songs gathered on this album aren't anything new. Destruction predictably delivers a solid live show time and again, but their live albums are predictable as well. You'll find the many staples of their live sets (Curse The Gods, Mad Butcher, and Bestial Invasion...just to name a few). The only deviation from this standard set list is the 2 or 3 songs they play from the new album that was released at the time. Beyond that, there really isn't anything you can't hear somewhere else.
First I explained why this live album is predictable and now I'll explain why it's unnecessary. The songs on this album that are from the Wacken 2007 gig can be found on the bonus cd of the dvd A Savage Symphony. A Savage Symphony is the 25th anniversary show they did at Wacken in 2007, therefore they've released the same material twice. The only reason to buy this live album is if you’re a diehard uber fan and you want to listen to them play in Tokyo. You’re better off paying a little extra and getting A Savage Symphony where you'll get the entire Wacken show, both as a dvd and cd and a Destruction documentary.
The Curse of the Antichrist is the third of Destruction's live efforts, but if you consider that Alive Devastation (2002) was only available to most of us an import (or through the Live Discharge DVD in 2004), it's only the second that was wildly available to audiences in Europe or North America. Similar to Sodom's One Night in Bangkok or Kreator's Live Kreation, there are two discs of material, running at about 100 minutes, and drawn from two separate performances, the 2007 Wacken Open Air set and a gig in Japan. Therefor, it does lack some of the flawed honesty of the Alive Devastation set; but let's not forget that the band's excellent 1989 Live Without Sense was culled from a number of gigs.
The material included here is pretty well divided between the band's classic 80s fare and their recent string of 21st century releases, possibly too much in favor of the later. From the most recent album, they include "Urge (The Greed of Gain)", "The Seven Deadly Sins" and the titular "D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.", and from Inventor of Evil they've incorporated "Soul Collector" and "The Alliance of Hellhoundz", none of which are really essential in my opinion, but the selection makes sense as the band were heavily promoting these efforts at the time. The same could be said for "The Butcher Strikes Back" (All Hell Breaks Loose) and "Metal Discharge" (Metal Discharge), neither of which are great songs, but they of course include post-reunion favorites "Thrash 'Till Death" and "Nailed to the Cross" to compensate. In fact, they include "Thrash 'Till Death" twice, once from each performance, the difference being that the Wacken version has three drum kits storming off in tandem, which adds a truly warlike atmosphere to an already intense fucking song...especially when you consider that the added drums are being performed by Sven Vormann and Oliver Kaiser, the former Destruction members! Touching, no?
The rest of the set hearkens back to the classics most in the audience TRULY want to hear, like "Curse the Gods", "Mad Butcher", "Cracked Brain", "Eternal Ban", "Death Trap", Unconscious Ruins", "Life Without Sense", and "Antichrist", the last being pretty unexpected in the set, and also featuring the three drummer combo. I did feel like some of the material was pretty sloppy, in particular "Cracked Brain" and "Curse the Gods", and did not sound as strong as the band did as a trio on Alive Devastation, but there's still a pervasive, raw freshness which gets the blood stirring enough to listen through. I'd also note that some of the songs are cut down to an almost medley, and some might not appreciate certain riffs missing here or there. I know I didn't, but when you've got only so much time for a set, you do what you can to thrill the audience.
And they sound thrilled here, but ultimately I don't really care for this performance that much. It's cool to hear some of the newer songs I guess, but this in no way can trump the band's ultimate 1989 live offering with its vicious, original appeal. Destruction are a good act live, and one worth checking out if they ever come through your area, and I'd recommend you save the money you'd spend on this for at least most of one ticket's cost. If you can't attend, then track down Live Without Sense or the Live Discharge DVD. The sound and overall set list here is not the greatest, and it's not at all mandatory.
Is there still room for live albums these days? Well I s'pose it will do German thrash uber-gods Destruction no harm given the emergence of a new generation of thrashers in recent times, but one has to imagine that the effect of an album like this on the old brigade may not be great.
This is not for a lack of quality across the 22 songs and 91 minutes of Destruction first truly official live album since 1989's "Live Without Sense". Just like the band's fantastic 2004 DVD "Live Discharge - 20 Years Of Total Destruction", you get all the veritable goodies from the band's now extensive back-catalogue, and let me just clarify: a 'Best Of' of Destruction classics is quite probably the greatest collection of thrash ANY one band could provide you. Better than any of the 'Big 4', Kreator, Testament, Exodus...the quality of the band's 80's output it simply without question, reaching levels of brilliance utterly unattainable for virtually all others. This was largely due to the thin and delicate yet razor sharp production employed back then; a production I can't help but miss on these live renditions and the studio re-recordings on their recent "Thrash Anthems" opus. Schmier's voice is still as...fucked (?) as ever, hitting high notes that really shouldn't be possible for such a big man, in the process pulling up the collection of post-reformation songs found here to higher levels than they have ever reached on the flat records Destruction have provided us of late. Check out the power found here in "The 7 Deadly Sins", "Antichrist" and "Metal Discharge" for confirmation of how recent Destruction is such a perfect fit for the live environment, fitting the template afforded by the band's limitations as a three piece and guitarist Mike Sifringer's coruscating solos.
Combining songs culled from the band's Wacken 2007 performance and a Tokyo show I would imagine to be from around the same time there really is little a Destruction fan new or old could find to moan about with the set list; the band have so many classics that mentioning "Mad Butcher", "Bestial Invasion" and "Total Desaster" is no more than an opening gambit. But there we have it: view this as a 'best of' selection and you certainly have that, with the addition of some crowd noises for extra effect, but will I be playing this in the future or the timeless "Sentence Of Death" record from back before I was even born? Whatever, Destruction are as relevant as ever and a mandatory band for anyone approaching the subject of 'thrashing'.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net