Review Summary: Destruction at their peak, this has their best riffs and a chaotic vocal performance.
When one has such a solid foundation as Infernal Overkill to build off then they need only repeat the formula of the previous release and clean it up a little to make another winning album. Examples of such a thought process can be found throughout the music industry, and exceedingly prominently in the thrash genre. Metallica are criminal to it with Master Of Puppets merely feeling like Ride The Lightning Mk. II, Anthrax did it with Among The Living and Kreator did it twice following Pleasure To Kill with their albums Terrible Certainty and Extreme Aggression. On the odd occasion however, maybe once in a blue moon, there is an exception to this example where a band will take their previous album and actually build off it to create a far superior work of art. It can safely be said that this was what Destruction did with their 1986 album Eternal Devastation and it absolutely destroys their debut.
What was accomplished with Infernal Overkill was merely a taster of what the band was prepared to unleash on this album but it actually does not start at all sounding like their debut. To begin with what we are gifted is a few strange sounds before launching into a mid-paced riff with the second guitar track playing a technically proficient riff. To say that Mike Sifringer stepped his game up would be a complete understatement and actually insult what he accomplishes on here. In place of the breakneck one-dimensional riffs on Infernal Overkill are a variety of highly enjoyable riffs that never fail to sound both brutal and incredible. This album is a lot more technically-oriented than the debut but without ever taking this aspect of their music too far and letting it overshadow the actual sound that the band created. On here every single song sounds absolutely apocalyptic and epic but it never ever feels like the band has drawn the songs out for too long. Each one of these is paced to sheer perfection so that even the longest of the songs, album closer Confused Mind, whizzes past before you know what has hit you.
The soloing on here completely destroys what was found on Infernal Overkill being highly melodic and yet still they are played insanely fast. The solos on here do not feel like a seperate entity as they did on the debut but instead blend perfectly into the rest of the music to create seamless songs that never feel at all disjointed. Confound Games sticks out in particular as the best example of their music just flowing along and always being as tight as it gets. The riffs are amazing and if the riff during the chorus does not make your jaw drop to the floor then the album is being approached from the wrong angle. For those looking for balls-out thrashing in the vein of Infernal Overkill or perhaps some of Nuclear Assault's finer works then this is also present, and again I point to Confound Games which picks up during the solo to a ridiculous pace. But it is the riff that follows this speedier section that you will keep coming back to, being so perfectly written and actually carrying such an atmosphere alongside it that it will just steamroll the listener flat.
United By Hatred starts off with an amazing solo and chugs along for a moment afterwards before launching into the fastest song on the album and it is here that another one of the changes between their debut and this can be found. Even when this album is thundering along at a thousand miles an hour it still sounds thoroughly tight without any of the disjointed aspects that came to the front of Infernal Overkill. In particular Marcel Shirmer handles his vocal lines on here a lot better than he ever accomplished on that release. It seems that with age has come maturity as the only problems that can be found with Eternal Devastation is that the production on the guitars is still a little flat and this seeps through at the slower sections of the album. Aside from this, Eternal Devastation is the band's masterpiece and a must-have for any thrash metal fan.