Destructive Angel – Extreme Genocide Force – 3.5/5
Ignore the ‘Iron Maiden’ lettering, or the fact they’ve merged “Destruction” and “Death Angel” into one new name, and even the uninspired and – even worse, poorly descriptive of the music – album title. I downloaded this with it described as “Power/Thrash,” which too isn’t quite right, but for all my negativity and telling you what it isn’t, I’m at a loss to describe simply what it is because it never really stays in one place. Landing anywhere from slow and symphonic power metal to the more aggressive neo-classical thrash, both often having strong electronic influences and synths running through the course of the album, the genre term ‘Symphonic Power/Thrash’ should be taken with a large grain of experimental salt.
In fact most of the tracks are constructed through layers of keyboards; organs, synths, piano lines and violin tones interspersed throughout to create the unusual feel that defies the ‘power/thrash’ genre description; at times oddly gothic but never whiny, the keyboards are used overtly but not in a manner that feels ‘flowery’ or ‘soft.’ It doesn’t feel fitting to call it more suited to the genre of electronica either; its simply that the duties of the lead guitarist has been taken by the keyboards, relegating them to quick thrash-like rhythm duties instead. The hard hitting fast-paced drumming adding little other than his simple but effective aggression leaving the lead free reign to create his multi-layered harmonies.
But the music has one small drawback. And when I saw small, I mean as in small compared to the size of the hole left in Hiroshima 1945. Japan has always had a problem with vocalists (probably why they have so many instrumental bands) but this guy is unreal; screaming like a constipated farmer fucking farm animals, he manages to completely ruin the music every time he opens his mouth to the point where I can actually now see valid reason for excessive use of vocoders. Thankfully, it’s only the single track “Mirage” which needs to be skipped (or preferably deleted, just to make sure you don’t leave it on by accident) and there’s a version without him caterwauling all over it to listen to.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m having difficulty aptly describing this instrumental album (I’m pretending ‘Mirage’ doesn’t exist); it’s almost to thrash what Fairyland is to the early Power Metal artists; the sound of a car crash between ‘Thy Majestie,’ and ‘Exodus,’ both parties carrying large quantities of keyboards with them on their journey. The music feels both majestic and epic whilst capable of treading a path between the boisterous and the gothic; between the aggression and the symphonic cheesiness, a sprinkling of neo-classical overtones without the pretence and the result is an artist that for the obvious unoriginality in the written word, shine where it counts.
Highlights: Murderer’s Descendant, Hell Nuclear, Slaughter
Album Abomination: Mirage