Gig review: DESTRUCTION – The Underworld, London, 8 October 2014

DESTRUCTION – The Underworld, London, 8 October 2014

Support Act: Shrapnel, Lost Society, Evil Invaders
Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
Photos by Yiannis (John) Stefanis

Attending Metal shows, even those taking place right in the middle of the week, is, strangely, still something I do with the passion and energy of a man half my age.

A gig becomes much more special when performed by a band like Destruction – an outfit whose works has helped shape my musical upbringing and whose posters adorned the walls of a room of a much younger me.

Thirty one years since their inception, the German Thrashers are as musically formidable and relevant as ever and it is this that this show at north London’s favourite joint The Underworld is meant to celebrate.

This fourteen-day trek around Europe finds the legendary Baden-Württemberg trio enjoying the support of three young bands in the shape of Shrapnel, Lost Society and Evil Invaders.

All original plans of me attending the performance of these three bands and interviewing the Belgian upstarts (see Evil Invaders) were thrown into disarray as my scheduled interview with Destruction’s front man Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer were postponed three times during the course of the early evening.

Said interview was finally performed an hour or so prior to the band hitting the stage and when I made my way into the venue’s diminutive photo pit, Shrapnel were half way into performing the last song of their set.

DESTRUCTION – The Underworld, London, 8 October 2014

At the time the road crew were performing the final sound check of the night, the venue still looked half empty – a pretty baffling thing as last time Destruction visited London was a good four years ago.

Ten or fifteen minutes later, all notion of personal space was a distant memory and the age-diverse crowd was finally creating the right level of noise in support of a band of Destruction’s stature.

This celebration of all things Thrash began with a killer rendition of “Total Desaster” – a classic opus enjoyed equally by fans, both old and new. Even though Schmier and guitarist Mike strike an unlikely couple visually, the former being a towering giant while the latter is shorter and much thinner, their musical chemistry is undeniable, evidence of which was the perfectly choreographed way with which “Thrash Till Death” and “Nailed To The Cross” were performed on the night.

DESTRUCTION – The Underworld, London, 8 October 2014

Three songs into the band’s set, Mike’s Dean Guitar is produces a killer tone which adds a lot of character to the all-time-classic “Mad Butcher” and the impressive new “Armageddonizer”. Schmier commands his audience like few frontmen can, informing us that “Black Death” will enjoy a debut performance on English soil while dedicating the follow-up “Eternal Ban” to the three young bands that opened for Destruction earlier in the night.

The second part of the band’s set features more killer renditions of classic such as “Life Without Sense”, “Release From Agony” and “Death Trap” while “Carnivore” is specially dedicated to the female members of the audience.

While “Hate Is My Fuel” manages to keep a healthy momentum going, the one song that the band’s fans are anxiously waiting to hear is “Bestial Invasion” and it is this which concludes the band’s main set for the night.

With the eleven o’clock curfew already exceeded, the band’s absence from stage is very short. Their return instigates a great encore comprising of “Curse The Gods” and the modern-day classic “The Butcher Strikes Back”, following which hands between band and fans are firmly shaken and the sweaty but visibly satisfied group of musicians leave the stage once again, this time for good.

The best proof of having attended a truly special show usually comes the day after, when, moments after having woken up, you find yourself in a truly euphoric mood, singing along to tunes you heard the night before.

Destruction’s London performance on the evening of the 8th of October was that kind of show. With a new studio album scheduled for next year, Destruction are still a force to be reckoned with – a band with a rich history but also one in possession of a bright future.

Thrash ‘Till Death!

Destruction Set List:

“Total Desaster”/ “Thrash Till Death”/ “Nailed To The Cross”/ “Mad Butcher” / “Armageddonizer”/ “Black Death”/ “Eternal Ban”/ “Life Without Sense”/ “Spiritual Genocide”/ “Release From Agony”/ “Carnivore”/ “Hate Is My Fuel”/ “Death Trap”/ “Bestial Invasion” Encore Curse The Gods”/ “The Butcher Strikes Back”

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