Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Deztroyer - Climate Change (1990)

Deztroyer was another of those promising German thrash acts who were made distinct largely due to the vocalist, and Climate Change was for the most part a professional, competent piece that might have stirred up a lot more trouble had it landed on a larger record label. Stylistically, the Hesse band were not a far cry from their better known peers Destruction, Sodom and Kreator, with a trace of explosive Bay Area energy circa Vio-lence and Exodus, but the songs here are jam packed with decent riffs that strangely function alongside the uncanny presence of Pete Kulp, a man whose intonation sounds like a theatrical thrashing bullfrog that sporadically feels the need to break into off kilter, melodic excess.

Nowhere is this more evident than the title track which opens this debut, a siege of Mike Sifringer/Frank Blackfire styled guitars in which Kulp soars with cautionary power, almost as if he were some lower register Warrel Dane. It's both hilarious and effective, and instantly marks Deztroyer apart from the majority of the thrash wave at the end of the 90s. Mileage may vary, because he feels as if he's always just about to shake out of key, or rather the vocals seem like they are about to escape the music, but throughout most of the 11 tracks (14 if you've got the CD-R re-issue) he sticks to his more aggressive, constipated tone, and pieces like "Ain't No Cure", "Intolerate", "Can't Complain", "(W.R.A.) Torture" and the thundering "We Fight" are among the fastest and most ruthless of German speed/thrash available in this period, each stuffed wall to wall with derivative but functional guitars. A few of the bonus tracks from the band's self-released CD-R ("Heaven's Gate", "Outwit the Maze") are also pretty good, culled from re-recordings of earlier demos, and the only deviation from straight up aggression is "Souvenirs", a clowny folk/metal piece which is thankfully brief.

Kulp is eccentric sounding enough that his presence might have somewhat hindered the band's success, but I like to think of him in a similar light to Udo Dirkschneider, who also had a pretty unusual style (though not without the AC/DC precedent). However, outside of the overbearing shadow he casts on the music, the songs also seem short on truly memorable riffs and chorus parts. Uwe Becker was a skilled guitarist, and the rhythm section very tight, launching volatile volleys at light speeds comparable to the bigger German bands, but unlike a Mike Sifringer, there are no particular riffs you just want to grasp and adulate. Climate Change inevitably ends up as one of those albums that perfectly fits its era, and is more than fluent as an example of the style, but does not resonate through the decades like its betters.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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