Continuing the streak of 21s century productivity, Inventor of Evil once again saw Destruction adorned in their modern studio ethics, with an effective polish that mirrors The Antichrist. 2003's Metal Discharge had of course been a letdown after that masterpiece, but this album summoned froth a little more diversity in its composition, and ultimately squeaks by in its overall quality. That's not to say that there aren't a few mishaps along the way, or that Inventor of Evil is built of the same fiber as any of their classics, but enough happens to hold off the wolves for another few years, and it seems that, beyond their miserable 90s output, an underwhelming Destruction is still a force worth some consideration.
"Soul Collector" erupts with brick heavy guitar rhythms and bass that bounces right up against it like seal infantry assaulting a shore, another down-pitched vocal intro that honestly doesn't add much to the flavor of the track or the album, but it eventually becomes a straight up onslaught with a few segues of curving, surgical guitar. "The Defiance Will Remain" does a lot less for me, and when the song title is predictably spat forth late in the chorus, it feels all too similar to "Nailed to the Cross", albeit briefly. Then the band launches into the most astonishing, awkward cut on the album, "The Alliance of Hellhoundz", which is like a USA for Africa supergroup of European metal musicians, only instead of performing "We Are the World" they're thrashing out over some admittedly average guitars that do very little to highlight the individual talents the band have brought on board.
Seriously, there are like 20 guest vocalists on this track, and they're each dispensed in a few lines that mesh together into Sifringer's leads and Schmier's guidance. A few of them are distinct, like Messiah of Candlemass or Peavy of Rage in his lower range, but so many of them are lost in the woodwork. Some like Doro just sound bad, and then you've got a few barked or growled lines from Speed (Soilwork) or Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) that just don't stand out. I also barely noticed Biff Byford, Paul Di Anno and Mark Osegueda to my disappointment. An interesting concept, this, but you know what might have pepped up the entire album? If they had spread out the guest vocals among separate tracks. Same level of gimmick, but less overwhelming. At the very least I came out of this wanting to hear Messiah Marcolin front an entire German thrash album... (more thrash than Memento Mori, at least).
Once the smoke clears, the album is left to sweep up the remains, and it does so admirably through a few of the better songs, strategically located right in the center of the proceedings, like the mid-paced but focused "No Mans Land" or the thundering belligerence that carries "The Chosen Ones". "Dealer of Hostility", "Under Surveillance" and the playful "Twist of Fate" also have a few choice riffs between them, but the overall construction is not as strong. There are a few bonus tracks including a Schmier-only version of "The Alliance of Hellhoundz" which does not spare us from the mediocrity of the music, and also a by the numbers rendition of "We Are the Road Crew" by Motörhead, which sounds glossy and knife-sharp in the Germans' hands, but doesn't really add much value here.
Packaged with another cover homage to the band's 'Mad Butcher' mascot, Inventor of Evil makes for another grisly, attractive addition to your discography. Functional enough as a head jerking, angry thrash dosage, but rather fruitless in terms of the memorable choruses and riffs that paved the band's road through the 80s or earlier 21st century. You could skip this entire album and not be the worse for wear, but at least half of the tracks deliver the neck breaking you seek, just don't go seeking this out for any 'curiosity' about their 'party' song. I think we already had enough grandstanding self-glorification with "Thrash Till Death" to last us a lifetime, never mind "Metal Discharge" or "The Alliance of Hellhoundz". We get it already. You're back. You're happy. We're happy to have you. Stop celebrating and kick our asses like "Mad Butcher" and "Total Desaster"! This is a trend I really hope the band will drop for future releases.
Verdict: Win [7.25/10] (havoc and haze)