Review Summary: A debut that shows a lot of potential, but falls short due to shoddy production and underwhelming vocals.
Veteran metal act Destruction, a band known for popularizing thrash in Germany and much of Europe, had an extremely humble beginning. Released at a time when thrash was in its infancy, this album shows a young band with much to prove and lots of potential, much like the genre itself at the time. Infernal Overkill combines raw aggression and sheer bravado together and the outcome is a mixed bag of highs and lows. Everything you can typically expect from a classic thrash record is here: whether its the technical and heavy riffing, the frantic and angry sounding solos, or even the energetic and fast drumming. Still, this album has more than its fair share of rough spots.
First and foremost, this albums suffers from poor production values. The overall sound of the album is muffled and dirty, and the bass lines are buried beneath the other instrumentals. While this isn't necessarily uncommon for the time in which the album was released, it is nonetheless extremely disappointing. Production aside, Destruction's guitarist is perhaps the major bright spot on this album. From a technical standpoint, the guitarist can shred. The riffs are very compelling and are almost never overused, and when he does solo, it is frantic and expertly executed. The drumming is equally proficient, and keeps the tempo at a decidedly fast pace, adding slightly technical fills at certain points in the album. The vocals on the other hand, are very typical of the genre, showing very little variation in pitch, and tone. The vocalist utilizes rough shouts and occasional low growls throughout most of the recording, and his performance never really lives up to the instrumentals. The only thing the vocals really achieve, is giving the album a slightly more aggressive sound.
The album clocks in at a mere 39 minutes, so it is a relatively short listen. All of the songs are extremely fast paced and heavy, yet there is no variety with regards to genre and style. This is a standard and typical thrash album. While the band would certainly go on to prove themselves in the years to come, Infernal Overkill is far from perfect. It does show a band with a lot of potential room for growth, yet it falls flat when compared to later releases from the band. If you want to hear your first Destruction album, seek out Eternal Devastation, or Released From Agony, as these albums display a much more accomplished and matured band.