Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Destruction - Live Without Sense (1989)

Perhaps the more miraculous fact about Live Without Sense is not that it's the best live thrash album of the 80s, nor one of the best live German metal albums of all time, but that it manages to take the already superb material of a band and make it sound better. Yes, by 1989, Destruction had not sounded superior than they do on this record, and it rewrites the fuzzy tones of Sentence of Death/Eternal Devastation, and the surgical, frightening cold of Release from Agony into a brazen, consistent 53 minute set of the band's best material. Yes, excluding later greats like The Antichrist, you've got almost all the essential Destruction material, here in its prime form, and in my book it's worth every penny to the non-poseur.

Schmier sounds insanely good here, especially his screaming diversions, and the guitars are crisp and delicious as they bite through each layer of your sanity. Mike Sifringer and Harry Wilkens are fucking spotless. Also, you've got a great set that draws from the band's entire 80s catalog, and in most cases, the best versions of the songs available elsewhere. The crude classics from Sentence of Death are perhaps underrepresented, with only "Mad Butcher" and no "Total Desater", but that's the only plausible complaint. Infernal Overkill's contributions are "Bestial Invasion", "Invincible Force", and the instrumental "Thrash Attack", the last of which sounds simply amazing as it bursts into its super catchy bridge. Eternal Devastation makes up for some of the best tracks here in "Curse the Gods", "Eternal Ban" and "Life Without Sense", the last of which is touched off with a brief, fun cover of "In the Mood". "Reject Emotions" is present from the Mad Butcher EP, and Release from Agony is covered with "Dissatisfied Existence", "Unconscious Ruins" and the title track.

Yes, sets like these once happened, and yes, we can be fucking envious of those that saw them. However, Live Without Sense is culled from a number of dates through 1987-1988, so at least we can rest assured that Destruction wasn't this perfect on a single night (who could be?) As far as management of track listing, and the audio quality is remarkable, easily devouring Sodom's Mortal Way of Live from the previous year. I'm shocked to say it, but Sentence of Death aside (which carries a particular nostalgia for its lo-fi tones), Live Without Sense is perhaps the 'go to' album of the band in the 80s. Certainly I would recommend this to any newcomer to the band as a starting point, since it has most of their best songs in the span of an hour. When I first picked it up, I didn't pay it much attention, since I was flooded with new albums in the 80s that were to say the least, eargasms of creativity and execution, but through the ensuing decades, I've grown almost as fond of this as Live After Death.

Verdict: Win [8.75/10]


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