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Destruction, live in London

Live Review

Venue: Camden Underworld

Support: Shrapnel, Lost Society, Evil Invaders

One quarter of the German Big Four (the others being Sodom, Tankard and Kreator) rolled into Camden Underworld for a loud and lairy night of thrashy goodness.

There are kids here!

The last time Destruction played at The Underworld, it was packed with old time thrashers. The sort who dig out the most obscure late '80s t-shirts and wear these weary items with pride and a paunch. But tonight, this breed are virtually absent. Destruction appear to have attracted a new, much younger audience. Which is great to see. Is thrash undergoing yet another renaissance? And have these Teutonic thrash Torquemadas become underground heroes again?

Blimey, they're still unashamedly one-paced

Destruction always set out to stun, with scarcely any variation in the speed of their songs. And nothing's changed. The rhythms, pacing and sound are full-on; it's rampant bulls headbutting walls type of thrash. They've never varied the approach to take account of changing times. And nobody would ever have them any other way!

You only need 35-40 minutes of this lot

Because they have everything turned right up, and on the limit, with the pedal fully rammed into the floor, you don't need Destruction to play for more than the duration of a vinyl album. Much more, and everyone's energy levels – the band and crowd – noticeably drop. And that happens tonight.

Schmier is a giant presence

The bassist/vocalist and band leader has always been a key figure in the German thrash scene. And he still commands attention. Big man. Huge personality. And he just loves being onstage. It's heartening to see someone who's been doing this as long as Schmier still openly embracing the moment.

Perhaps the most endearing of the Teutonic Big Four

There's clearly an affection for Destruction that's greater than that enjoyed by Sodom, Tankard or Kreator – the other trio in that Big Four. Fans really do love Destruction, more than even Kreator, who are clearly the biggest of the quartet. Maybe it's because Destruction are unashamed thrash purists themselves.

The ideal venue for thrash and thrashers

Thrash belongs in sweaty, intimate places like this. Not in the cavernous wastes of arenas. So, while Destruction might not be able to match the levels of the American Big Four, or Kreator for that matter, nonetheless this is arguably more of an authentic thrash gig than anything done recently by those five. 

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