Fourth post-reunion album from these German thrash heroes, and all eyes are on the "We Are the World"-esque "The Alliance of Hellhoundz" — the track (yet another paean to how much metal rocks) boasts a slew of guest vocalists. Doro Pesch, Paul Di'Anno, "Speed" Strid" of SOILWORK, Peter Tägtgren, Biff Byford (SAXON), Shagrath (DIMMU BORGIR), Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL), Peavy Wagner (RAGE), Messiah Marcolin (CANDLEMASS) — all chime in, creating an interesting show of metal unity usually only seen ten beers into the Wacken Open Air festival. Perhaps the Alliance of Hellhoundz can start collecting dues, maybe score group health insurance for its members?
That diversion aside, DESTRUCTION get back to what they do best — fairly standard-issue German thrash, long on integrity and dense, busy riffing, short on individuality or real charisma. Their riffs are impeccable, the vocals of Schmier unique and snarling, and Marc Reign has given the band a kick in the ass in the drum department. It's just that too much DESTRUCTION in one sitting can sorta leave one's eyes glazed over — drop a needle at a random spot on "Inventor of Evil" and it'd be hard to pick where you were (unless, of course, you heard one of those guest vocalists).
It's a congenital flaw in this band, but it seems to be one they're working on — "Inventor of Evil" is arguably the most focused and hard-hitting of the post-reunion records. The songs are shorter and trimmed of excess, and the performances are meaner and more intense. They strike a balance here between a more focused, lethal attack, and their sometimes aimless, endless riff avalanches of yore. They're still happy to deal in clichés by the metric ton ("The Calm Before the Storm"? "Twist of Fate"? "No Man's Land"?), but their approach is equal parts nostalgia and forward-thinking, which no doubt saves their asses when dealing with their very particular diehard thrashing countrymen. Like any other old band that survived the mid-'90s, they know better than to fuck with the formula too much (lesson learned on the Schmier-less, universally panned "Least Successful Human Cannonball").
Despite being one of the bandied-about pioneers of Eurothrash, I'm gonna go out on a limb here (and open my inbox to umlauted death threats galore) by saying DESTRUCTION, this far into their career, has yet to make their definitive album. "Inventor of Evil" is a good step in the right direction, and it's a fine slab of unrepentant thrash metal in its own right (with or without the novelty cheese-factor of "The Alliance of Hellhoundz"). The first two tracks alone rank among some of their best songs. The fact that their assault is this stubbornly unswerving, this far into their career, is itself a cause for much respect and reverence.