Mad Butcher/Eternal Devastation

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1987's Mad Butcher EP was Destruction's first recording as a quartet (following the replacement of founding drummer Tommy Sandman with Oliver Kaiser and the addition of second guitarist Harry Wilkens), and its four tracks simultaneously summarized the band's previous thrashing styles and opened doors toward new directions to be pursued in years to come. The title track is of course a retread of the original featured on 1984's Sentence of Death EP, but who cares when it's such a classic representation of Destruction's rough but lovable template: crusty vocals, rapid but relatively clean guitar tones, and a tongue in cheek attitude that concludes in a goof on the "Pink Panther Theme." Next up is a cover of the Plasmatics' "The Damned," which, more than anything, reveals Destruction's increasing openness to melody, even if it's delivered primarily via Mike Sifringer's stinging lead guitar work. "Reject Emotion" takes the high road via one of the band's more thoughtful lyrics, as well as intricate, almost overwrought musicianship; while closing instrumental, "The Last Judgement," simply allows the band's newly formed twin-guitar team to joust it out with escalating flurries of notes and harmonies, to startling effect. Needless to say, Destruction's new lineup would manage just fine, thank you, and the next chapter in their storied Euro-thrash career was officially underway. [The Mad Butcher EP was reissued on CD by Roadrunner, in conjunction with Destruction's preceding album, Eternal Devastation.]

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