Destruction
Cracked Brain


3.0
good

Review

by Madbutcher3 USER (89 Reviews)
January 4th, 2011 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whilst Cracked Brain retains a great deal of technical flair from Release From Agony, a more upbeat tone to the songs leads to it being somewhat awkward in comparison.

Destruction's commercial path as a band is fairly interesting; their first 2 albums were instant classics of the European thrash metal scene, and their works in the 21st century are consistently competent and aggressive. At the lead up to the nineties, however, the band was effectively on the precipice of either becoming something greater or irrelevant; sadly the latter happened. After a series of successful albums (Infernal Overkill, Eternal Devestation, The Mad Butcher EP) it released Release From Agony in 1988, a highly technical thrash album, which was critically successful. The band's more technical direction, whilst garnering a great deal of praise, ultimately left fans cold, and this eventually led to the ousting of famed vocalist/bassist "Schmier", which effectively marked the death of the band's success all in one go. André Grieder of Poltergeist was drafted to replace him, but his less effective style and relative lack of charisma saw their next product, Cracked Brain, perform considerably worse commercially and critically. However, despite its failure in comparison to Release From Agony or their earlier classics, it remains an interesting and overall decent album on the merit of the remaining technicality of the songs, which would dissipate with their later albums of the 90s.

Band Members:
Mike Sifringer - Guitar
Harry Wilkens - Guitar
Oliver Kaiser - Drums
André Grieder - Vocals
Christian Engler - Bass

Whilst the album is mostly a regression from the impressive quality of Release From Agony, Cracked Brain saw some improvements both in technical standard and production quality. The instrumentation is tighter in spite of increasingly angular arrangements, and the overall sound is clearer. However, the bass has less presence, possibly in tow with Schmier's exit, which leads the arrangements to feel a little less heavy.

The consequences of a new vocalist and bassist seem to mostly lie in the album's tone. Release From Agony, whilst somewhat goofy in regard to its execution, had a songwriting style and tone that was quite sinister overall, working quite well with the more technical style of playing in order to form a more effective whole than on Cracked Brain. The latter struggles in regard to supporting its technical arrangements as the new vocalist Engler lacks the same charisma, whilst the general tone seems to be more upbeat and akin to the slightly punkier edge of thrash. This ultimately leads to what is effectively a mismatch in sound where the more upbeat nature of tracks like Frustration and Time Must End feels somewhat out of place with the presence of more aggressive ones like the title track or S.E.D.. There seem to be more gang vocals around the whole album and instrumentation never hits quite the same tonal or speedy extremes as its predecessor.

Despite this issues, there's actually a lot of good to be found on this album, especially in its most aggressive tracks. The title track in particular is pretty much a classic of the band, and past the goofy My Sharona cover around the midpoint of the album, the album picks up with more considered arrangements and more emphasized technical styling; all of Rippin' You Off Blind to When Your Mind Was Free are fairly impressive tracks, which makes up for the awkwardness of the first half of the album (except for the aforementioned title tracks). However, the heights of any of Destruction's prior work are never really hit, resulting in the album being listenable but lacking in lasting value. Sadly it would only be downhill for the band until the return of Schmier for their comeback album All Hell Breaks Loose in 2000.

*Review rewritten on 04/07/2015*



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user ratings (133)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
FadeToBlack
January 4th 2011


11044 Comments


good review, layout looks somewhat like DethTrasher's/Thor's old reviews

still havent heard this one yet, might give it a listen later

DetJohnKimble
January 4th 2011


82 Comments


Nice easy to read review. Ive never heard this either and the lack of Schmier puts me off abit. Might try and pick it up if i can find it on the cheap somewhere as i like all the destruction albums ive heard.

Dryden
January 4th 2011


13553 Comments


awesome band

Madbutcher3
January 5th 2011


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Evidently I'm going to keep this style in future reviews.

By the way, I wouldn't have been able to this review without Spotify. Useful software, that.

ThrashInMyHead
February 17th 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good and underrated

ThrashInMyHead
March 22nd 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good and underrated (2)

foxblood
October 26th 2012


9480 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty good, Cracked Brain rules

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
February 18th 2014


2571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

For me a big step down from the band's previous release. It sounds really tiresome in parts and the vocals here are somehow inaudible compared to the instrumental performance. What does succeed here however is the blistering solos and excellent riffs in songs such as the title track, 'S.E.D.' and 'Time must end'.

Digging: Cult Leader - A Patient Man

theyrehere
February 6th 2015


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whaaaaat I love this album, production is crap though. I'd love a good remaster.

Madbutcher3
July 4th 2015


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Rewrote this one. Was obviously pretty amateurish when I first did it so had a second shot at it now I can actually write these things.

StrikeOfTheBeast
September 29th 2016


2378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Just a tiny bit underrated. Good album, but it is a letdown with the lack of Schmier.

Digging: Intruder - Live to Die

slikphuk
June 22nd 2017


412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so underrated, one of destructions best albums

Digging: Exothermix - Reaction

bloc
February 16th 2018


53375 Comments


Never understood why this has such a low rating.

Digging: The Presets - Hi Viz

Madbutcher3
February 16th 2018


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

the vocals are quite bad tbf

bloc
February 16th 2018


53375 Comments


I didn't notice anything different about them. Also, the lead work is amazing on this. The My Sharona cover is unnecessary, but that's the only major flaw I can think of.

RippingCorpse1986
March 26th 2018


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

''If you go out fishing don't forget to stake the bait on the hook, or you won't catch nothing-nothing''



Not from this album but sometimes I wonder what makes people go and put out this kind of stuff.

And what sick and morbid thoughts came to their minds at that moment...

RippingCorpse1986
March 28th 2018


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lol who would have thought that this would have a more upbeat tone considering that the singer came from a band that made an album called ''Depression'' and has lyrics like ''Now, if you are strong/You'll pull the trigger/For your depression''



That greenish creature with a gun in hand on Poltergeist's debut reminds me of Tankard's mascot

Casavir
March 28th 2018


2409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Underrated.

Digging: Secrecy - Raging Romance

RippingCorpse1986
March 28th 2018


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah album's average should be a bit higher.

T/t, Frustrated and Die a Day Before You're Born are my favorites here

Casavir
March 29th 2018


2409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Schmier's absence really wasn't that big of a deal as far as this album was concerned, if I'm being honest.



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