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Destruction - May 12, 2011 - The Church, Boston, MA

By: Matt Coe

Timing when you get to shows in Boston is crucial. Often during the weekdays, the venues start earlier with the intent of getting the consumer out on the streets at a reasonable time (most of us have work the next day, you see). So when this five band bill pulled into the Church in Boston on a Thursday night with a 7 PM start time, I knew my friends and I would have to plan for the challenge of driving into the city, the inevitable ‘where do we park?’ scenario, and then hoping we wouldn’t have to face a long line waiting to get in…

Luckily we arrived while local band Razormaze were five minutes into their brief 20 minute set. The four-piece have quite a proficient lead guitarist in their ranks - his 8-string skills rival the best Alex Skolnick/Craig Locicero solo play during their recording histories. Otherwise they have a decent handle on producing Bay Area influenced thrash with a little bit of the Boston stomp and attitude for good measure. Kudos to vocalist/guitarist Alex Citrone who handled getting his hair caught in fellow guitarist David Carlino’s headstock with a sense of humor and grace without missing a note during a heavier moment of their set.

PanzerBastard feature one of the old-school crossover main men in the Boston scene, bassist/singer Keith Bennett. The quartet play a hefty slice of Cro-Mags styled metal that the younger generation could learn a thing or two about. Originals like “Bastards Die Hard” and “Grave Robber” don’t waste your time - they just slice and dice and encourage group vocal interaction. Giving the crowd a choice of another original or a Celtic Frost cover as the closing number, To Mega Therion’s “The Usurper” won out and went over easily to the Boston metal faithful.

Warbeast hail from Texas and feature Bruce Corbitt on vocals (ex-Rigor Mortis) as well Scott Shelby who used to play in the thrash act Gammacide. Their 30-minute set culled from their debut album Crush the Enemy (plus an unreleased new song called “It”) would induce the first round of circle pit action, and the chain link vocal microphone stand from Bruce added a definite metal touch to the proceedings. Maybe it’s an act I need to check out more in the comfort of my home, as their one-dimensional approach can wear its welcome out in a live setting.

Heathen came out with their power thrash attack on “Dying Season” and would spend the bulk of their 45 minute set pushing out cuts from their latest album, include the 11 minute “No Stone Unturned,” but they would also air the classic “Hypnotized” from 1991’s Victim Of Deception and close the set with the opening track from Breaking The Silence, “Death By Hanging”. Current touring drummer Jon Dette (Slayer/ Testament) really wailed on his kit as if his life depended on it and the dual harmonies from Lee Altus and Kragen Lum delighted many of the musicians (and general public) at hand. For first timers in Boston, let’s hope Heathen impress the masses enough to make another trip here with hopefully a longer time slot.

I guess when it comes to the live show business, The Church will probably be Schmier’s least favorite venue to return to for the foreseeable future. The Destruction singer/bassist soldiered on through a non-existent monitor mix and a slew of technical problems though to give the couple hundred strong followers their money’s worth in a 75-minute set covering loads of classics (“Bestial Invasion,” “Release From Agony,” “Eternal Ban,” “Death Trap”) as well as plenty of anthems from their current slew of thrash records (“Nailed To The Cross,” “Metal Discharge,” “Armageddonizer,” “Devolution“). Their latest drummer Vaaver (Wawrzyniec Dramowicz) effortlessly delivers spot on thunderous fills and even came up with a cool drum solo bit when the guitars went down for a few minutes.

For a three-piece, Destruction get a full sound that never drops off even when guitarist Mike Sifringer takes a lead break. Schmier commands the stage like a football player charging off the line, racing from one microphone to the other, exhorting chants and screams at all the right times, and the crowd screams back with as much force as the band deliver off the stage. Crowd surfing and circle pits swirled from the soundboard to the stage during the bulk of the set, and how could they not when the ominous classic “Curse the Gods” starts the Destruction madness. The German thrash originators came, saw, conquered, and hopefully there will be a repeat headlining performance in our area soon.


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