Released: 2009, Blackmarket Activities/Metal Blade
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Saddle up the trusty steed and grab your battle axe because Destroy Destroy Destroy has returned with their second release, BATTLE SLUTS. The Tennessee-based group continues to rape, pillage and plunder its way through all who dare cross their path with a clever blend of black metal, Viking themes and keyboard-laced melodies that work really well together. Toss 3 Inches of Blood, Children of Bodom and Amon Amarth into a blender and season with a sprinkle of Immortal and that would pretty much sum up Destroy Destroy Destroy’s unique sound. Based on the press photos for the new record, it seems the band has toned down its Manowar-meets-Venom image from 2006’s DEVOUR THE POWER and is willing to let the music do the work instead. BATTLE SLUTS is a bit more polished than the last record but the songs really benefit from the improved production and streamlined arrangements. The same themes are present as before, but the band has clearly grown as songwriters in the past two years, so those who enjoyed their shtick before won’t be able to resist it here, either.
As the war drums start to pound, “The Second Coming” acts as a film score-like call to arms for the troops, its regal march and sweeping orchestration sounding like something off a Manowar record. Whether Destroy Destroy Destroy incorporates elements of Amon Amarth-infused melodic death (“Born of Thunder”) or digs into a galloping power-thrash groove (“Realm of Shadows,” “The Winged Panther”), it becomes impossible for the listener not to get caught up in the ambience and passion of the music. Bryan Kemp’s vocal style nears that of Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho with raspy shrieks and the occasional growl giving the songs a cold, harsh feeling. Also drawing comparisons to Children of Bodom is the presence of keyboards, as Brian Shorter adds more than just flourishes of sampled strings. Not quite hitting the neo-classical virtuosity of Janne Warman, Shorter gives tracks like “Agents of Hypocrisy” and “Born of Thunder” a symphonic edge to really fill out the sound. The band hits its melodic stride with “The Return of The Geishmal Undead” as Jeremiah Scott and Way Barrier lay down some excellent NWOBHM-inspired leads that add to the anthemic chorus. “The Berserker's Field of Whores” adds some nifty guitar squeals and the groove is undeniably catchy. “The Wretched Forest” teeters near blackened folk metal that is all the rage these days, with rich keyboard passages and choir sections reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir. As proof the band doesn’t take things too seriously, “Battle Slut Drinking Song” is a mead-soaked, testosterone-fuelled sing-along whose lyrics will put a smile on even the hardest of metalheads’ faces.
Like 3 Inches of Blood, there remains to be some doubt cast towards Destroy Destroy Destroy and just how credible their whole act really is. Are they poking fun at metal fans or truly inspired by the themes of which they sing? What business do a bunch of guys from Tennessee have hitching their wagon on to the battle-weary Nordic bands who hail from the descendents of Odin himself? Call this band a guilty pleasure but as they did on DEVOUR THE POWER, Destroy Destroy Destroy crafts music that is impossible not to like on BATTLE SLUTS. Taken with a grain of salt, the subject matter is obviously ripe for criticism and riddled with clichés but it is also full-blown metal that deserves to be recognized as such. Horns raised high and mighty, for Destroy Destroy Destroy rides!!
KILLER KUTS: “Battle Upon The Arctic Plains,” “Realm of Ancient Shadows,” “Born of Thunder,” “The Winged Panther,” “The Berserker's Field of Whores,” “The Return of The Geishmal Undead”