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Their best work - 93%

mikey22, April 27th, 2016

Wow! That is the first word that came out of my mouth when I first heard this album as it easily surpasses their earlier work. For one the production was better as you can still hear the rawness Destruction possessed, but the sound became clearer, and their technical abilities have greatly improved. From the very first instrumental track you could tell these guys were up to something special, as the guitar work is absolutely flawless and majestic. It is filled with acoustic passages, Teutonic bludgeoning riffs, technical riffs, and solid bass fills. Sure, this isn't the fastest or most brutal thrash created, but it's still pretty harsh sounding, and what it doesn't have in barbarity and savageness it makes up for it with its technical prowess and songwriting ability. This reminds me very heavily of Megadeth’s Peace Sells. As some of the densest metal I have ever heard there are many different passages going on at the same time in the music, and it will take multiple listens to hear all the great riffs, and inner joined riffs.

Marcel Schirmer's vocals sound downright evil on this record. He has a very similar vocal style to early Mercyful Fate but not as annoying, he also has some impressive screams that are very hard to hit. His technical bass playing is actually very audible on this record and he provides a very strong backdrop to the wildly technical guitar playing. The older records had inaudible bass playing and a much rawer sound but this isn't as raw as I stated before, but the production for all the instruments is far more balanced, so it makes the music more fluent, and more brutal to boot. The guitars are extremely technical and throw down some great riffs from the guitar duo Mike Sifringer and Harry Wilkens. The addition of Harry Wilkens was a great addition to the band as he is one of the most underrated players ever. I heard somewhere that he used to practice 15-20 hours a day, and from hearing this record it's not that hard to tell. His and Mike's riffs are very technical/ dense as they have many inner joined riffs, and off time riffs that you will need multiple listens to hear them all. "Sign of Fear" has one of the most technical guitar solos ever written because in flamenco guitar playing you could hear every squeak and scartch in the guitar, and to nail a solo like that with no mistakes is something of godlike ability. The other guitar solo that comes in the middle of the song has some insane picking that would wear out normal humans’ forearms, but unfortunately, Harry left the band long ago and no one knows what became of him. The man was an excellent guitarist that no one ever talks about and I feel his departure affected the band greatly because Mike cannot hold down riffs like these all on his own.

The lyrical themes explored on this album deal heavily with political topics such as government and corruption as well as other horror themes like murder and nightmares. An interesting track is "Sign of Fear" which actually deals with relationship problems. Overall a tremendous improvement over their earlier efforts and a huge breakthrough for thrash metal as a genre. This album I think spawned the technical thrash metal movement going on in Germany because nothing was this dense or technical at the time in Europe or America. In conclusion this is metal music for the thinking metal listener or someone looking for technical music filled to the brim with difficult passages, time changes, and off-tempo riffs. This is easily one of the best thrash albums released for the year of 1987 and a great improvement for Destruction as this album made them be noticed as a ferocious force in the thrash metal genre.

Standouts: "Dissatisfied Existence," "Sign of Fear," and "Release from Agony"