Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Destruction - The Antichrist
(Nuclear Blast)

The Antichrist is the second solid comeback album or these seminal German thrashers and the sound is grittier, more compact, almost more resolute (resigned?) about maintaining rust-free the band's leg on the Sodom-Kreator-Destruction barbecue. There's no irony here, or self-reflection, only slashing, searing guitars and anthemic sloganistic yowl growls from Schmier, old riff-crucial thrash from all corners, the band marching unto death through a clear, projectile-vomiting production job from Peter Tagtgren, who also captured the band similarly hi-fi yet unadorned on predecessor All Hell Breaks Loose. Mike's riffs are both caustic and sort of thrash-aristocratic, very Bay area but roughed up like Death Angel. And the band isn't afraid to Slayer-esquely layer in a few twin lead patterns for emphasis, while Schmier also goes there with his Araya-aromatic fade calls. But alas, there are a few grumbles out there that The Antichrist gives the people (curmudgeons?) too much of what they want and doesn't push enough new buttons. A valid supposition, but then again, if you own a past as illustrious as Destruction's, re-engineering this legacy is one of your front options as a band. This is what they do, and if Germanic retro-thrash be your thing, then a plate of hate awaits.
Rating 7.5

Joel McIver - Slipknot Unmasked
(Omnibus Press)

In commemoration of the third Slipknot album (Iowa) about to explode extremely all over the world, here's a review of an extremely detailed and insightful book that looks at the complicated pre-fame underpinnings of the band through the second album's touring shenanigans. McIver is no hack, also being an editor at Record Collector mag and having written a book on extreme metal. Unmasked certainly will result in controversy, as McIver has found all sorts of people instrumental in getting this beast off the ground. And they talk. The rare first album is covered in detail as are extra-curricular activities of the band. As well, McIver flexes his journalistic muscles by deftly putting this philosophical band in context, many contexts in fact, including rock history, art history and even geography. The layout is classic idiosyncratic Omnibus, kind of scrapbook-like so the eye stays interested. Of note, Slipknot did not cooperate with the writing of this book and there are no new interviews granted, not surprising, given that this band who used to be praised by openers and headliners alike two years ago as really down-to-earth" have become total rock star dicks who regularly blow off scheduled interviews, slagging the press (apparently the fans are still OK) who have actually covered the band exhaustively and near unanimously positively since their signing to Roadrunner (personally, I got four re-schedulings in one day and then finally no interview at all). Contact www.omnibuspress.com or joel@recordcollectormag.com for more info.
Rating 8.5

Hard Reviews Page 4