National Music Reviews March 2016

Review: Destroyer 666 – Wildfire

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Destroyer 666
Wildfire

Season of Mist
Street: 02.26
Destroyer 666 = Bestial Mockery + Sodom + Denouncement Pyre

There’s that old saying that good things come to those who wait. I know that I waited patiently, and the time quickly came for a new Destroyer 666 album. The Australian black/thrash band picked up notoriety after their first EP, Violence is the Prince of This World, and with each release—be it a full-length or an EP—the momentum bursts like the raw, ripping, anthemic, violent music that Destroyer 666 create.

Wildfire follows what was a fairly disappointing album that was 2009’s Defiance. Defiance tread water for Destroyer 666 in a lot of ways, and most songs blurred to the next. Although, I could get past a bit of that, and there was still some great playing to be heard. Unfortunately, on Defiance, most of the playing was obscured by a nasty drum trigger sound that outweighed everything else, turning tracks into a blundered “duh-duh-duh” sound that repeated loudly in my head.

Well, have no fear: Seven years later, Wildfire makes a huge, dominating statement—the qualities that made Phoenix Rising and Cold Steel … for an Iron Age so great are back in force with some new dynamics rounding out an album that doesn’t tire upon massive repeated listening. The feel of the album screams old-school thrash—some songs have that anthemic fist-pumping quality. That said, there is that trademark blackened quality that Destroyer 666 are known for; just mix those thrash anthems with the grit of early Bathory and Venom. The lineup—other than K.K. Warslut, who founded the band—is all-new for Destroyer 666. The two new members each boast the pedigree of previous bands: Drummer Perracide has been in Benediction and In Aeternum, and guitarist R.C. played in Grave Miasma.

“Traitor” gets the speedball rolling at a dizzying thrash tempo set upon whirlwinds of riffage—it’s also the first exposure to the nice, natural, live-production sound that the album oozes at every moment. Crank Wildfire up loud enough, and you may as well be at a Destroyer 666 show wherever you’re jamming this record. “Artiglio Del Diavolo is an aggressive but tightly written, all-instrumental track that sets up the next song, and it’s a face-melter—it’s the first gut- and face-punch track from the record. “Hounds at Ya Back” opens up with a calm melody until its first punching riff. Its lyrics are catchy, and it’s a hell of a song that’s up there as one of the best tracks that I’ve laid ears to this year.

The record manages to stay fresh by not taking the balls-out approach. The follow-up cut, “Hymn to Dionysus,” slows the tempo in a good, not-making-me-yawn kind of way—just the beginning, though, which is heavily atmospheric until it rips into less thrash and more black-sounding territory. The varying paces and styles go further with the following few cuts, like the title track, “White Line Fever” (not a Merle Haggard cover), and “Die You Fucking Pig!” With album closer “Tamam Shud,” there’s a mix of mostly slow tempos with a few fast bits for good measure. Add it all up and you get an album that isn’t just a fistful of speed and insanity, with clean, clear production and catchy songs—what more could you want? Nothing. Wildfire marks a point of maturity for Destroyer 666 but also returns to what made them stand out: catchy, notable songs. With all I’ve gushed already, I’ll close the review with a bad pun: This Wildfire is one that won’t be put out. –Bryer Wharton