"We're really looking forward to this! It's been too long!" - Destruction Prepares For An Antipodean Assault

The German thrashers will soon be here, and bassist Schmier is looking forward to a whole lotta thrashing going on next month...

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, German thrash maestros Destruction are heading our way next month (in a tour co-presented by this very organ) for a run of dates in support of their mightily impressive newish album, Day of Reckoning. On hearing that stalwart bassist/founding member Schmier was available to talk up this little jaunt, Metal as Fuck jumped at the chance of an international chinwag with the man.

The tour is nearly upon us; you’ve been a professional muso for nigh on thirty years now. Do you prepare for tours any differently these days? “Not really, no. I enjoy the travelling more these days. We still party hard, but I try to appreciate the cultures of the countries we visit more now. It helps if you’re a bit more aware of your surroundings! I worry a lot less now as well. With experience you realize that sometimes promoters forget to wire money, and flights sometimes get booked at the last minute because of that. Years ago I would have been worried all the times by things like this. Now I tend not to worry unless it’s the day before a tour and the flights still aren’t booked!”

Looking back to those early days, did you ever consider for a moment that you’d be preparing for an Australian tour in thirty years time? “Absolutely not! We never thought it would go anywhere… it was just enough to get out of where we were in the German countryside and prove to the hypocrites where we lived that we could succeed!”

I remember the first time I heard Destruction – the track was Bestial Invasion and it featured on a compilation put out by the now sadly defunct Music For Nations label called Speed Kills (an album which featured, amongst others, Venom, Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, Voivod, Possessed and Celtic Frost). Even then it was evident that Destruction was at the forefront of a distinctly different style of thrash – the Teutonic variety- what was it that separated the Germans stylistically from the rest of the thrash metal world? ‘I guess like all thrash metal bands, we linked two styles of music – the new wave of British heavy metal and punk. But whereas when the American bands listened to punk they listened to American punk; we were much bigger fans of English punk. American punk is more controlled, English punk is more aggressive, more anti-establishment. We liked that aggresivity (sic) and wanted to link it to our music, like other German bands and I think that’s where the difference began.”

At the time it seemed to me you were much closer to the English crossover bands like Broken Bones, bands that were essentially punk bands with a metal edge as opposed to the other way around. Your new album has been heralded as something of a return to that sound, was it written as such or did you not plan it to be that way? “Well, I think the new album is definitely more thrashy, it does have more of that aggresivity… and it was clear which way the music was going from the moment Mike (Sifringer, guitars) started playing me his ideas. You know that we have a signature sound to an extent, we will have elements of that whatever we do, so you want to keep that part of your sound, whatever you do, but you don’t want to seem to be repeating yourself.”

It’s a fine line, isn’t it? “It is, because if you do it too much one way people just say we’re repeating ourselves, but if we go the other way then you get people saying ‘what is this? This isn’t Destruction’, you know? So we always have to think about that.”
Does anything get left behind on the rehearsal room floor for having ‘too much’ of a signature sound? “Oh for sure, yes! We have left behind many hours of music for that reason!”

How long does it take you to write an album? “We do a lot of preproduction which helps, gathering riffs, melodies but we generally take about a week to record, three weeks mixing and mastering, and maybe three months of writing and rehearsing. But I like to keep it fresh by moving away from it during that time, playing a few gigs. I couldn’t just spend four weeks working on a project all the time.”

Is the new material going down well live? “It is, yes! Hate is my Fuel and Armageddonizer especially are going down really well on the tours we’ve been doing.”

And what does the setlist hold for your Australian fans – a good mix of the old and the new? “It’s about fifty-fifty. We’re not one of those bands that insists on playing ten songs off the new album. Usually we only play three or so new songs in a set, but it is a good mix of old and new anthems. We play for an hour and a half – so there’s plenty of time for everything.”

Before we part I just want to slip in a question from a MaF reader, Adrian Grech – in the light of the success of the big four’s tour exploits this past year, would you be interested in maybe taking out a big three of German thrash at some point with Kreator and Sodom? “It’s been mentioned a lot, and we did it once in 2001 or 2002… I would go tomorrow. But Sodom and Kreator have difficulties working things around their respective schedules. I’ve told Tom (Angelripper, Sodom mainman) and Mille (Petrozza, who leads Kreator) that Destruction is ready for such a tour at a moment’s notice, either in 2012 or 13, which will be like the thirtieth anniversary of thrash metal starting in Germany so it would be a good time to go. All three bands are fit, well and releasing great albums so I think it’s a great idea. Plus, you never know what is coming around the corner. We have to do it!”

That’s great news, but its for the moment let’s just look forward to next month’s Australia tour. “Yes! I’d just like to say we’ve left this too long and we’re really looking forward to the tour!”