Destruction - Release From Agony (1987)Release ID: 3007
I seem to be a minority in my general disinterest in Destruction's early work. Many consider their first few releases to be classic thrash metal albums. I've tried over the years to get into them, but simply can't see any reason why so many metal fans rate them so highly. Neither Infernal Overkill nor Eternal Devastation were particularly bad albums, they just offered nothing very exciting and nothing beyond plain, average thrash.
So, I started listening to Release From Agony, their third full length album, with a certain level of pessimism, particularly as it doesn't receive as much praise as the above mentioned releases. Surprisingly, this is a fair improvement on everything the band did before it. Finally, they have a decent production that doesn't leave the whole band sounding wimpy, and there's also much more variety and musical experimentation to be found throughout the eight tracks included than could previously be heard. Sign of Fear is an example of what Destruction can do if they put their mind to it, with its eerie keyboard and acoustic guitar work adding to the normal metal blueprint. Release From Agony, Unconscious Ruins and Incriminated are really enjoyable also, but there are great riffs at pretty much every turn.
The problem is that when compared to other European thrash bands such as Kreator and Sodom, Destruction just don't reach the same level of excitement. Schmier's vocals, while better on this album, still annoy me somewhat. His almost embarrassing high-pitched squeals are not as prevalent than they were previously, but still raise their ugly head from time to time. I must admit that I occasionally enjoy his performance this time round. The solos are fairly rubbish at times, while OK at others. And finishing the album with that stupid little piece of music is completely out of character with the rest of the sound and well, just plain dumb. I enjoy Release From Agony more than anything other Destruction album I've heard, but it's still no classic.