DESTRUCTION, Metal Discharge (2003, Nuclear Blast)
A metal skull, cracking apart. About as literal as it could be, for an album called Metal Discharge. But, this isn’t the first time the band has used this exact skull: he appeared on the previous studio album, The Antichrist and on the intervening live album, Alive Devastation. The artistic laziness displayed here is almost staggering. I’m sure the artist worked up the illustration in Adobe Illustrator or something and just applied different textures for each album. I can’t even begin to imagine why Destruction, a popular and well capitalized band, would approach their album covers with such lackadaisical disregard for ingenuity, but here we are. We at Skull HQ have chosen this particular cover because it so singularly emphasizes the skull, without even bothering to cram some stupid crap in the background. Bonus points are awarded for the tacky, graffiti-style addition of the word “Discharge,” a hacky design gimmick wrenched through time from the distant year of 1991.
It would be a stretch to call any of the post-reunion Destruction albums essential, but they also haven’t released any real stinkers or embarrassed themselves, which, in light of other reunions, should be considered a rousing success. Personally, I think the band peaked with the weird techthrash of Release from Agony, and even the Schmier-less Cracked Brain is more creatively satisfying than the reunion stuff, but the first few of the new albums, especially, are good fun. Schmier actually sounds better now than he did back in the 80s, and what their recent songs lack in ambition, they make up for in enthusiasm and brisk timekeeping. Guitarist Mike Sifringer is an underrated riffmeister, and every song is jam packed with excellent rhythm work. Obviously, not every riff is a homerun, but sometimes quantity is its own quality. I think if you mixed up songs from this album, and the ones before and after it, I’d be really hard pressed to tell you which came from what album, but some might find that consistency admirable.
— Friar Johnsen