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Less fast, just as furious - 83%

Valfars Ghost, June 14th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, 12" vinyl, Weird Face Productions (Reissue, Limited edition, Colored vinyl)

If you managed to survive Spectrum of Death, you know how good that relentless piece of thrashing madness is. You remember how every song except the interlude near the end barreled forth with a relentless, bloodthirsty drive to pummel listeners into submission with its million-mile-an-hour riffing. Morbid Saint's second full-length (originally existing as a 1992 demo but released as an official album last year), while not an unworthy successor, doesn't deliver the sheer amount of ferocity the Sheboygan boys' exemplary debut nearly murdered us with.

While the aural stampedes that threaten to overwhelm you at any moment don't return in large numbers, Destruction System is easily recognizable as a Morbid Saint release. Even with a decreased speed, the album is plenty dirty, with an evil, roughshod feel reminiscent of the Teutonic thrash scene that makes the performances seem more organic. The production, at least on the recent vinyl version, is practically the same as it was on the last album, with the guitars having the same biting tone and the drums the same vicious energy. And of course, Pat Lind's voice is just as raspy and venomous and his delivery just as hateful. Though the pace tends to be a bit slower, Destruction System is still a white-hot thrasher, maintaining a sense of menace and never reducing itself to simplistic grooving.

Though this album isn't quite as fast as its predecessor, it's by no means slow. The full-speed attack that made up almost all of Spectrum of Death is back, but it's scattered throughout the songs rather than presented as a near-continuous stream. The pace picks up for many of the solos, for instance. The drums speed up to the tempo they maintained throughout the debut and the guitars deliver some awe-inspiring solos that have the same frenetic insanity as the Hanneman-King tradeoffs from Reign In Blood but with more in the way of melodic considerations.

The parts that come between the full-throttle thrash assaults are focused more on delivering solid rhythms than sheer instrument-punishing violence. The title track is the catchiest number here, with some verses offering a strange but invigorating change of pace from the rest of the song and an engaging and catchy framework that feeds into the simple but equally infectious chorus. The songs contain a number of different riffs, most of which aren't all that memorable but are enthralling in the moment. And there are still plenty of passages that go all out with the same abandon as the last album so if that's all you want out of this release, you won't be completely lost.

Destruction System is a bit more melodic and restrained than its predecessor but still packed with fury. Morbid Saint matured a bit between releasing their first album and writing this one but as previously stated, this demo-turned-full album just doesn't offer the same level of cathartic entertainment even if the rhythms themselves are more deliberately crafted. Put together in its first incarnation at a time when thrash metal bands were simplifying their approaches left and right, this is not a bad sophomore effort by any means.