Destruction - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2016

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Europe Under Attack Tour
October 7 (20:45 - 22:00)
Capacity 500

To support their newest album Under Attack, the bill for the European leg of their tour is one of the most stacked Destruction have headlined in a long time. They've been part of strong bills before, but usually as the special guest to bands like Overkill and Sepultura, not topping the heap themselves.

With Flotsam And Jetsam as special guests, who have been touring relentlessly of late behind their self-titled new album, and increasingly popular younger bands Enforcer and Nervosa in tow, the tour provided a big overall draw, and the Underworld was suitably packed by the time Enforcer delivered their brand of generic '80s speed metal.

Equipment change-overs were completed at a remarkable speed, so for what could very well have been the first time in its history, The Underworld was running ahead of time. If that weren't unexpected enough, that little bit of extra time was actually added to the band's sets, and the first to enjoy that little bonus were Flotsam.

They began their modest 45 minutes as they have done for most of the Summer, with the opening track of the new disc, Seventh Seal. What followed held no real surprises in terms of song selection, but their balanced mixture of old and new pleased everyone. On stage F&J are just about in the form of their lives, and despite suffering from a poor sound mix which mysteriously cleared up by the time Destruction came on, they gave a flawless performance to a huge reception from the thrash-minded crowd, many of whom had not seen F&J for a long time.

Destruction themselves have decided to give their current touring two focuses. In addition to presenting the new album, drawing four tracks from it, they're also giving pride of place in the set to some of their oldest material - more so than normal. Some of the songs from their earliest albums before front-man Schmier's departure in 1989 are staples of their live sets - Mad Butcher, Bestial Invasion, Curse The Gods, etc. - but alongside those they've now added extra songs from 1985's Infernal Overkill, like the instrumental Thrash Attack (which was re-recorded as a bonus track on the limited edition of Under Attack), Invincible Force, and Black Death, which hadn't been played since the mid-'80s before this tour.

To say the crowd were elated by this would be an understatement. In general, thrash crowds are a fairly single-minded group, who want everything as fast as possible (sometimes to the detriment of quality), and as old as possible. When a thrash band from the '80s plays songs from their first couple of albums, it's a thrash crowd's dream. Destruction delivered just that with an unnatural tightness which demonstrated above all else just what a revitalising force drummer Wawrzyniec Dramowicz has been since he joined in 2010. His incredible precision at high speed has given Destruction a significant technical edge, and it clearly drives guitarist Mike Sifringer to his best.

With the new album being a somewhat formulaic back to basics record (indeed adding Thrash Attack to it is very apropos), the mixing of those songs with so many from the '80s albums makes for a relentless set, especially when it's all squeezed into a compact 75 minutes, and the band's delivery was as sharp as a thrash band can get.

It wasn't long before the pummelling was over and the brave moshpit, regularly spinning perilously close to the concrete pillar which anchors the dance floor area of The Underworld, wound down into a celebratory roar, all before a 10pm curfew, job well and truly done by all concerned.

“ an unnatural tightness ”

Flotsam And Jetsam setlist: Seventh Seal / Dreams of Death / Hammerhead / Monkey Wrench / Desecrator / Life Is A Mess / Hard On You / Iron Maiden / No Place For Disgrace

Destruction setlist: Under Attack / Curse The Gods / Pathogenic / Nailed To The Cross / Mad Butcher / Dethroned / Life Without Sense / Total Desaster / Thrash Attack / Black Death / Invincible Force / Second To None / The Butcher Strikes Back // Thrash Till Death / Bestial Invasion

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2016, Gigs, Thrash Metal, ,

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