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Unleash the Sign of Fear - 84%

bayareashredder, February 15th, 2009

Destruction are arguably one of the most overlooked thrash metal bands. The last of the big 3 German trio of "tuetonic" thrash metal, along with Kreator and Sodom, Destruction probably achived the least amount of popularity and recognition. This could have been because the band really had a only a few "classic" albums with Release From Agony being one of them. Destructions lack of recognition is really quite a shame because Release From Agony is one hell of an album.

Release From Agony is the bands first album as a four piece with the addition of guitarist Harry Wilkens. Having a second guitarist gave this album a significant difference for this album compared to the first two records, Sentenced to Death and Eternal Devastation. Release From Agony features a lot of solos and some traditional trade offs between Wilkens and longtime Destruction guitarist Mike Sifringer. Standout trade off soloing can be heard on "Dissatisfied Existance", my personal favorite track on the album. The following track, "Sign of Fear" features some flamencco guitar work, something new for Destruction. The remaining tracks have a lot of really good soloing as well. The rhythm sections are really good too. Each track has a lot of fast and killer riffs with the title track being a Destruction classic.

Schmier provides both vocals and bass parts. Schmiers vocals are both understandable and haunting. I think he has one of the most unique voices in all of thrash, maybe even extreme metal. While singing in his mid pitched voice, he also hits some high falsetto screams. The final line on "Sign of Fear" is breathtaking. The bass parts are really good too. I really like it when an album has very noticeable bass. When I say noticeable I don't mean the bassist showing off chops, I mean the bass tracks aren't hidden behind the guitars. Schmier is very audible and still pulls out some good lines as well. Drummer Oliver Kaiser is another thrash great behind the kit. He is one of the many thrash drummers who help make thrash my favorite metal genre.

For the songwriting, Release From Agony features some of the bands finest material. After the short instrumental opener, the album gives out three Destruction classics. The title track and "Sign of Fear" have been on the bands regular setlists since the albums release. All the other tracks are great as well with "Dissatisfied Existance" and "Unconcious Ruins" being some of the better tunes. And as a little last note, the final track, "Survive To Die" ends with a little goofy outro after the final chorus, similar to how "Mad Butcher" ended with the Pink Panther theme song on the famous EP.

Although Destruction hasn't had another classic album since this, Release From Agony will always one of the many thrash classics that emmerged from the 80s. Get this along with their first two albums and EPs to add to your thrash collection.