Released: 2004, Witches Brew
December 2004 saw Vexed continue their brand of Italians playing German-styled thrash with their third full-length (second for Germany’s Witches Brew label), DESTRUCTION WARFARE. Prior to joining Witches Brew, Vexed had already carved out a short recording career, starting in 1999 with an EP entitled, ABYSS OF AGONY that was followed up the next year with the BLOOD UPON THE VOID EP in 2000 and first full-length, ENDLESS ARMAGEDDON in 2001 (which contained all the material from both prior EP’s). 2002 and 2003 saw a couple split releases as well as a promo release to get label attention, which culminated with the band releasing NIGHTMARE HOLOCAUST in 2003.
Since I don’t have any prior experience with Vexed there were basically no expectations going in and when I listened to it I couldn't make any comparisons to prior releases or progression between NIGHTMARE HOLOCAUST and DESTRUCTION WARFARE. What one gets with DESTRUCTION WARFARE is a reasonable release of straight forward German thrash in the vein of many of the classics from bands like Destruction, Sodom, Kreator and the like. Vocalist Mik even has that Schmier-esque screeching snarl, so it’s not much of a surprise when the band dips into Destruction’s catalogue for “Total Desaster”.
Opening with “Nuclear Babylon” the band gets right to business, at least after some sampled explosions. Immediately one gets the old school thrash brought to them, simple thrash riffing, much like the classic bands before they became “better” musicians. The vocals are given much passion, to me feeling like Schmier with a Sean Killian (Vio-Lence) penchant for vocal lines. The multi-part chorus works nicely with the straightforward verses. A solo and a thrashed out riff open “Requiem Aeternum”. A nice rolling, straight chugging riff runs throughout the song with slight notes being picked up along the way. It has turned out to be my favourite track on the album.
“Phobic Reign” nicely compliments its lyrics with a frantic pace and strung out riffing. One can instantly get the feeling of the lyrics through the music alone. “Death Symphony”, a short dual guitar instrumental, serves its purpose well in leading into “Bladeblood”. It gives a bit of a more trad/epic feel to the songs before the thrash riffing comes back about 40 seconds into “Bladeblood”. Though the song’s subdued outro gives me the feeling that there was an epic track here when the band decided to throw in a thrash song right in the middle. I find it a little confusing, though enjoyable. Title track, “Destruction Warfare”, takes the speed down a few notches after most of an album of completely thrashing out. While things do pick up after a couple minutes, it’s still never as fast as the rest of the songs on the album and shows a bit of a different side, ending the album on not only a different not, but a strong one too.
Vexed’s DESTRUCTION WARFARE is a solid thrash album though not much more that. Things do get a bit samey because of the lack of diversity though it really depends on one’s mood and mindset going into the album, I know I’ve found myself raging around all the way through but then other times I’ve turned it off about halfway through and because of that, my rating of the album has gone anywhere from a 2 to a 4. With that in mind, I think it’s only fair to split it down the middle for a 3, though if you’re a thrash fiend, you might rate it higher.