The Curse of the Antichrist – Live In Agony
25 September 2009
By Stephen Milnes
The live album is a curious beast. Many can feel rather soulless and synthetic, a poor imitation of actually being at a gig. Hearing the crowd over the top can be irritating, the tracks – often taken from across a plethora of albums – don’t always run together like a coherent album should, and the sets are often too long to be palatable outside the context of the performance, taking up multiple CDs. Put simply, they’re nerdy and usually the preserve of the super-fan.
German Thrash titans Destruction‘s latest, The Curse of the Antichrist – Live in Agony, recorded at Wacken 2007 and on a recent Asian tour, doesn’t seem like it’s going to be any exception to those generalisations.
Two discs worth of some of the most punishing thrash you’re likely to hear this side of San Francisco’s Bay Area sounds like an exciting prospect, but when listening alone – rather than in a venue, surrounded by thousands of equally excited metalheads playing air guitars – it has a somewhat underwhelming, hollow effect and becomes slightly tiresome after the first fifty or so minutes.
However, the performances are otherwise such sturdy ones that it becomes compelling in its heaviness. Tracks like ‘Unconscious Ruins’, ‘Metal Discharge’ and ‘Thrash Till Death’ stand out in particular. These German veterans of Thrash know how to put on one hell of a show – the crowd sounds pumped, and the band is tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm.
Sadly, the changing between the Wacken and Asian sets feels clunky and that detracts from what is otherwise a nigh-on seamless live album. Any bits of benign blabbering between songs have largely been edited out, but there are a few distracting moments. It’s very hard not to laugh at a German man trying to assert his masculinity by shouting at thousands of people in Japanese and declaring that, “It’s fucking great to be back in TTTTTOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKYYYYYYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOO!” and suchlike.
Watch Destruction play ‘Life Without Sense’ live
Despite these accidently comic exchanges between band and fans, Live In Agony does manage to capture Destruction in full flow, cementing their reputation as one of the key acts in European Thrash with their audible enthusiasm, precision playing and crushing riffage. Some fans may be a little disappointed by the comparative lack of new music in recent years but this live album is a beast well worth taming.
Top Tracks: The Butcher Strikes Back, Thrash Till Death, Metal Discharge, Cracked Brain, unconscious Ruins, Bestial Invasion
Sounds Like: Testament, Death Angel, Exodus
Destruction – The Curse of the Antichrist – Live In Agony tracklisting
The Butcher Strikes Back
Curse The Gods
Nailed To The Cross
The Alliance Of Hellhoundz
Urge The Greed Of Gain
Thrash Till Death
Life Without Sense
The 7 Deadly Sins
Thrash Till Death
Total Desaster [sic]