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Destruction - Sentence of Death
Review: In the early 1980s, the groundwork for underground metal grew from the hybrid of punk rhythms and metal riffs. While American bands like Slayer favored a stream of rhythmic powerhouse riffs over an infrastructure of angular melody, European bands followed Destruction's lead and created heavy metal centered around a rhythm, but interpreted through with melodic passages that fused the Metallica-style chug with the rippling tremolo of faster bands.
The result diverged speed metal into two camps, one of which rapidly deviated into death metal while the latter became power metal. Before any of that split, however, Destruction took the tugging rhythms of Sodom and added to them arabesques of melody and erudite, lyrical guitar leads. They expand on the American speed metal approach by fusing their chorus rhythms with a melody and then echoing that melody in lead rhythm playing and fills, giving the songs a density that no American band but Nuclear Assault was able to match until ...And Justice for All.
Into that mix, Destruction infuse the riding rhythms of Motorhead, where a running strum pattern displaces itself with abrupt transitions at key points of emphasizing rhythm, more like a silhouette than an explicit denotation, and integrated the fast budget riffs of Slayer into a hybrid of speed metal and the death metal to come. With this EP, the German band launched a style of fast, recursive riffing developing into melodic lines that influenced all later acts, especially death metal innovators Massacra and the first wave of Scandinavian black metal bands.
This style has its limitations. The postwar mentality shows itself in a willingness to extend rock and heavy metal, but not get into dangerous territory, and to comment on a world gone insane but never delve into reasons why, and this shows in the fragmentary nature of the composition. These are melodic variations on a rhythmic core, derived from a chorus, as appears in fellow German bands Kreator and Sodom. While much technique and spirit came from these early works, their lack of ability to transcend their origins kept them from rising out of their generation of the genre.