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Gleaming, if slightly cracked metal. - 76%

hells_unicorn, October 10th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2003, 2CD, Nuclear Blast (Limited Edition)

Destruction was counted among the many tragic victims of that monstrosity known to most as the 1990s, a time where thrash metal somehow morphed into a 4-letter word and everybody started to get their groove on. There was a failed attempt to revive the band in the heat of said time period by Mike Sifringer with an entirely different lineup that culminated in 3 releases that were well outside of thrash and sounded more like an attempt at going hard rock. Thankfully the 1990s had an antidote, known as the 2000s, and with it came 2 extremely well realized lessons in modernized spine-destroying mayhem in All Hell Breaks Loose and The Antichrist. Immediately on the heels of these spectacular fits of pure revitalization is what can be best described as an inferior, yet still pleasing afterthought in Metal Discharge, an album that can be best described as that period of still sprinting just after hitting peak speed in the race and crossing the finish line, followed by the inevitable winded slow down.

To be fair, this album is miles ahead of where most of thrash metal was 5 years prior, and definitely manages to pull out a few impressive numbers amid what is otherwise a moderately redundant affair. If there is a comparable album that most would be familiar with, it would be Slayer's Divine Intervention, which was itself noteworthy for being a majority thrashing affair in 1994, when most had jumped off said ship. The riff work, while a bit too repetitive at times, is still possessed of the needed edge to keep from degenerating into coasting half-thrash the way Machine Head still tends to do, and Mike's guitar tone is definitely more on the modern end of things, having more of a massive punch sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Exhorder circa 1992. Schmier is likewise sounding as pissed off as usual, thrusting forth a punk-infused shouting vocal quality that's akin to a mutant version of Death Angel's vocal sound, which is a fitting voice for such angry sounding anthem titles as "Rippin' The Flesh Apart" and "Made To Be Broken".

In stark contrast to most of Destruction's absolute classic LPs where picking a best song is a fool's errand, here the preferred head-banging fodder jumps out at the listener from the very start, whereas the lesser songs stand out for their sheer lack of doing so. "The Ravenous Beast" is the best example of the former, plunging ahead at full speed and never stopping for a breath. It's closely followed by the very next song, title track "Metal Discharge", which is a little on the repetitive side but has a similarly unrelenting, go straight for the jugular approach with a more blurring riff set. On the less inspired side is a somewhat rock-infused affair in "Mortal Remains", which varies in tempo but loses focus while trying to straddle between a fast Teutonic sound and a Megadeth inspired riff set. The same story tends to hold true for "Historical Force Feed", which hangs around mid-tempo land a bit more but similarly meanders around a couple of similar sounding riffs and coasts more than it thrashes. The weaker songs on here don't become outright boring, but they seem to drag on given the lack of definitive hooks or well-timed change ups, and the lead guitar work that would normally cut the monotony a bit is pretty sparse.

It's a safe bet that anyone with a taste for Destruction's modern 2000s sound will not find this release an outright throwaway, but it takes the back seat to several other albums from this era and is more middle of the road in terms of quality. It's one of those albums where there are only a few things to really quake about, and a lot of other stuff that tends to be good while it's on, then just sort of fades into the ether of countless semi-memorable modern thrash anthems that have been floating around. A good analogy would be to view this album's 2 predecessors as skull-pulverizing sledgehammers, where as this is more akin to a one-handed mallet that puts a respectable series of cracks into whichever cranium ends up at the wrong end of it.