DESTRUCTION - Cracked Brain
In retrospect, almost 30 years have gone by that this record has been in existence. The re-issue doesn't take away from the magic of this release minus Schmier from the lineup. But the staple 3 members that appear on “Release from Agony” are featured on here (Mike, guitars Harry, guitars and Olly, drums). There was a session bassist by the name of Christian Engler that takes Schmier's bass duties. I've always felt that this would've been a much more solid release if their frontman wasn't on hiatus for this recording. However, it is what it is and Schmier's been back for a while now so that's not changing anytime soon. The older riffs on this album especially have been DESTRUCTION's finest. I don't think that anything but a few newer releases are as catchy as the old stuff, “Cracked Brain” included.
I remember I had this on cassette way back in the early 90's for an occasional listen to though the tape did not survive. Well, Andre (Poltergeist) does a fine job though because he had some pretty big shoes to fill especially Schmier being on DESTRUCTION's first three full-length releases along with a live recording (“Live Without Sense”, 1989). This being recorded in Germany along with the three main members or at least 3 out of 4 on the previous. They had some great elements on this recording but if only the production were a little more solid, the vibe with have been tastier. That's my personal opinion, though. DESTRUCTION have always have their own style of thrash reflecting (as Schmier has said in interviews) that they're sort of punk rock inspired. That's not too far off.
American thrash metal bands from the early on (some of which) have gotten out of the music scene completely or changed their style of music. But DESTRUCTION has never changed their style of songwriting which is why I believe they've been true to their roots since born into the metal scene. This was way back in 1982 under the name "Knight of Demon." Of course the change has been made to this day, and a much more suiting to their musical ensemble. But anyway, the cover of "My Sharona" by THE KNACKS was well done, though they could've left it to the end of the record, but it hits about mid-way through the album. I suppose they wanted listeners not to lose interest kind of like the song on the MAD BUTCHER EP, the song "Mad Butcher" which is sort of by getting aroused by the opposite sex.
The whole feeling of “Cracked Brain” has a reverb type of echo as with Andre's vocals. Harry once again was phenomenal on lead guitars. It's a shame that he's left the band for good with "occasional" guest appearances on newer releases. From my understanding, he used to practice the guitar for 15 hours a day! I'm not sure how true that is, it definitely is believable. He simply shreds. Mike has always been great on the rhythm guitar department, however, the lead guitar was never his forte. I guess you could say that they were stronger in the 80's as a 4-piece act. But things didn't happen that way from now here-on. These leads by Harry on here are once again phenomenal and in the riff department both guitarists don't set short of anything but greatness.
German thrash has this element that I talked about and sort of makes American bands in this genre a little bit more or less likable, though I've always have been an old-school METALLICA and TESTAMENT follower. But SODOM, PANZER, DESTRUCTION, et al have a special scene in the thrash genre. There's just more element to this style of thrash. Be sure to key into the songs "Rippin' You Off Blind" and "Die A Day Before You're Born." These are classics here on “Cracked Brain”. Even though I like the music here, there's no one that can replace Schmier on vocals. It was like the three members kept the music aglow but the vocals, well I don't or never have favored Andre's tone. If only they could record this album (full-length) with Schmier, then a-ha the album would've been done more justice.
Ryan “Death8699” Fanucchi