Review Summary: One of the best thrash albums of the past few years, it might not be varied, but it really is amazing in terms of actual content.
2012, the supposed year of the apocalypse and the end of life as we know it, has been one hell of a year for music. If we truly do face the impending doom then it is safe to say that the music industry has gone out with a bang. Across metal alone we have had various killer releases including but not limited to contributions from Kreator, Cerebral Bore, Lamb Of God and Cannibal Corpse. And now in November we finally have the latest installment in teutonic thrash titan Destruction's discography entitled Spiritual Genocide containing eleven songs and clocking in at fourty one minutes with guest appearances from Evile's guitarist, Tom Angelripper of Sodom fame and Gerre from Tankard.
Initial reactions to the album since the stream was posted have been strong and this is not without reason. This is Destruction as they have always been, providing their own brand of brutal thrash metal but with even more variety than ever. Spiritual Genocide marks thirty years of thrash brilliance and embodies everything good about the band, from their killer soloing ability to the absolute skin-ripping vocals from Marcel Schirmer. This is one of the bands strongest works to date and probably one of their most consistent although it suffers from a lack of variety. There are a couple of tracks on here that really stand out but aside from that the album relies on being one streamroller album.
The best song on the album is the single Carnivore which had a video produced for it and released to moderate praise. This is a mid-paced thrasher with some of Vaaver's best drumming to date and the same shrieked vocals that made albums such as The Antichrist so powerful to listen to. The riff set harkens back to Eternal Devastation in that it is fairly technical and does not rely on playing at a thousand miles an hour to sound absolutely amazing. The slower riff that kicks in about half way through the song is the best on the album by a mile, being both crushing and groovy and being a mandatory headbanging moment. The solo is nothing short of spectacular with some insane runs that sound so cool every time you listen.
The album opens up in a very melodic way with the beautifuly constructed song Exordium that is skull crushingly heavy but still sounds completely epic in the context of a build-up to the first proper song. Cyanide opens with some frantic drumming and a lightning fast riff coupled with a crazy shriek from Schirmer. This song does not piss around trying to be catchy but focuses on blazing ahead as fast as possible and really works as the perfect way to kick the album off properly. For those who were expecting a dip in quality from Destruction now that they are fastly ageing, guess again.
The real problems that can be found with this album however are that there is not enough variety on display and the production is very flat. The latter has always been a problem with Destruction albums but in this case it is manifested in the drums being far too loud in the mix rendering the bass inaudible and the guitars are much harder to hear than on past Destruction albums. No Signs Of Repentance is the longest track on the album and drags on too long without enough clever riff ideas integrated into it so that it just becomes boring to listen to.
Spiritual Genocide feels for once like Destruction are truly firing on all cylinders but at times it just feels a bit too samey. Aside from this the album is an absolute thrash masterpiece that threatens Phantom Antichrist's title as the best thrash release of 2012 with its brutal drumming from Vaaver, insane guitars from Mike Sifringer and a gut wrenching vocal performance from Marcel Schirmer. This is an album that succeeds on nearly every level and Destruction should be proud.