(For the April 2020 edition of The Synn Report, Andy Synn has combined reviews and streams of all the releases by the California band Destroyed In Seconds, including their newest album Divide and Devour, which was released last Friday.)
Recommended for fans of: Wolfbrigade, Disfear, Trap Them
Though the story of California Crust-Punk/Thrashcore crossover crew Destroyed In Seconds goes all the way back to 2008, my own relationship with the band is only a few years old, as I’d never heard of them before one of my buddies dragged me aling to see them at the 2018 edition of Maryland Deathfest.
I’m not sure exactly what it was about the band’s performance – maybe it was their obnoxiously high energy levels despite their early afternoon slot, maybe it was their general “give no fucks, take no prisoners” attitude, or maybe it was the fun way they ripped the piss out of one of our companions for wearing a black cowboy hat in the pit – but, whatever it was, I was instantly hooked.
Hopefully, if you’re not already familiar with the band (whose third album was just released last week), you’ll be just as hooked by the end of this column, especially if you’re a fan of the sort of down ‘n’ dirty, d-beat driven sound which derives its inspirations from bands like D.R.I. and Dropdead, Exodus and Entombed, Nausea and Napalm Death.
CRITICAL FAILURE – 2010
The band’s debut (which, sadly, isn’t on Bandcamp) is ten tracks of unforgiving, unpretentious, Thrash-Punk which kicks off with the rusted buzz-saw riffs, bone-rattling bass, and barbaric, bellowing vocals of “Speak of Hate”.
(One thing to note is that while the tracklisting on Spotify is correct, everywhere else – and I do mean everywhere, including my cd copy – it appears to have gotten seriously messed up. The names are in the right order, but the songs have been shuffled about and mis-tagged. On this list, for example, “Veil of Greed”, track 2, is actually “Bleed Forward”, track 10, and so on, so for the rest of this section I’m going to be following the Spotify ordering).
“Speak of Hate” is quickly followed by the stripped-down, sub-two-minute splatterfest of “Veil of Greed”, and the unexpectedly menacing, punk-fuelled, death-driven Thrash attack of “Fake”, which features some of the heaviest riffs and most headbangable beats on the entire record.
After this the overdriven bass and stomping d-beat battery of “CF” (which I’m going to assume stands for “Critical Failure”) quickly mark the song out as one of the most overtly Hardcore-influenced tracks on the entire album, melding Black Flag-style belligerence with some seriously nasty (not to mention heavy) metallic moments reminiscent of Black Breath.
The reckless gallop of “Marked to the Vein” is reminiscent of early Martyrdöd in all their punky metallic majesty, and delivers some seriously bruising riffs and pissed-off vocals in less than two meaty minutes, whereas “Lamentations” grinds and grooves and thrashes in equal measure, showing off some seriously rough ‘n’ ready rhythm work courtesy of bassist Kent Elmore and drummer Sean Vahle, as well as some snappy, shreddy, riffs and leads from guitarists Bruce Reeves and Leon del Muerte.
“Extend the Misery”, by contrast, is practically pure Grind, especially in the drum department, with Vahle laying down a barrage of punchy d-beats, scattershot fills, and sudden, stuttering blasts over the course of the song’s one-minute-and-forty-three-second run-time, after which the band keep the intensity high with the bellowing vocal hooks and chunky, chugging riffs of “Bloodwolf” and the crushing Hardcore/Death Metal crossover over of “Legion” (both of which showcases the band’s love of a big, brutish chorus refrain).
Climaxing with the darkly melodic, yet extremely aggressive, strains of “Bleed Forward”, Critical Failure is one of those albums which hits fast, hits hard, but doesn’t outstay its welcome, and serves as a great opening statement from a band who would quickly go on to bigger and better things.
BECOMING WRATH – 2012
By the time the band hit their second album they’d become even darker, even heavier, and even more metallic, as the doom-laden intro to “Becoming Wrath” quickly demonstrates, right before the abrasive, Entombed-esque riffs and ultra-aggressive vocals (courtesy of new frontman Jon Tomala, who clearly spends his spare time chewing glass and gargling gasoline) kick in and proceed to kick your teeth down your throat for the next several minutes.
“Assimilation” is just under three-and-a-half-minutes of bruising, Trap Them style brutality that pushes the band’s sound even further into the realm of Death Metal while still staying in touch with their Hardcore roots, after which “Stay Damned” adds a touch of Martyrdöd-ish melody back into the mix, in the form of some sizzling lead parts and a dash of twisted tremolo.
With “No Guillotine Like the Truth” the band jump back on the Entombed-core bandwagon (albeit well before it became a so trendy) to deliver some of their gnarliest riffs and most gruesomely infectious vocals yet, as well as some utterly humongous grooves, while the d-beat Death/Thrash of “Sea of Disdain” has a few moments that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of The Crown’s early records.
Similarly, both the opening and closing sections of “The Scarab’s Nest” channel shades of Earth Crisis at their most menacing and metallic, although the middle segment of the song is almost pure Grindcore, while the wrist-wrecking, ultra-taut riffs which drive “Built for the End” split the difference between Grind and Thrash like a rusted knife through an unprotected neck.
I’ll grant you that Destroyed In Second’s sound here isn’t the most original, but that doesn’t mean it’s derivative either. It just means that the band operate in an area – somewhere between Hardcore, Grindcore, Death Metal, and Thrash – where they have to try extra hard to stand out.
Pounding penultimate track “Edges” certainly does stand out too, building from a moody melodic introduction into a brooding, bottom-heavy groove, before then transforming into one searingly intense, stunningly dense, slab of heavyweight metallic hardcore, all of which leads the listener lastly, but by no means leastly, into the climactic (not to mention aptly-named) strains of “Crushing Low”, which brings the whole album to a close with nearly five minutes of Death, Thrash, Punk, and ‘core crossover.
DIVIDE AND DEVOUR – 2020
The band’s long-gestating third album, released just last week, is definitely their most metallic offering yet, benefiting from a bigger, beefier production job which, while it may not be as raw or as endearingly ragged as their first two efforts, gives their sound a major dynamic boost.
The Thrash/Hardcore hybrid of the opening title track pulls no punches, while also supplying the listener with some seriously catchy hooks and cathartic aggression to quickly latch onto, with vocalist Jon Tomala (sounding more like Earth Crisis’s Karl Buechner than ever) snapping and snarling like a man backed into a corner and with nothing left to lose.
“The Tower” is, if anything, even more direct and to the point, deploying some seriously choppy, thrashed-up riffs and propulsive, punky rhythms, while “The Badge” is part groove, gut-churning metallic chugathon and part moody melodic blitzkrieg bop, whose adrenaline-packed sound bears more than a passing resemblance to Hardcore legends Shai Hulud at their very best.
The mid-section of the album finds the band leaning more into the Crust-Punk side of their repertoire, beginning with the devastatingly catchy melodic/metallic assault of “Wraiths”, then moving into the reckless, thrashy thrill-ride of “Disarm” and the rifftastic strains of “American Carnage”, whose sound should equally appeal to lovers of Ancst and Tragedy at their heaviest as it does those who worship Anthrax and Testament at their punkiest.
After this, “World War When” goes even harder, and even heavier, with some of the thickest, meatiest riffs and punishing drums on the entire record, while Tomala continues to stamp his presence all over the album with an authoritative delivery not a million miles away from Tomas Lindberg’s throat-bursting snarl.
Both “No Respect” and “Only Throats” are abrasive Punk/Metal anthems of the highest order, each designed to grab you right by the throat from the very beginning, with the latter in particular featuring some seriously murderous riffage, while “Buzzards” sees guitarists Bruce Reeves and Christian La Rocca laying down some of their most brutal and most bombastic work yet.
Wisely concluding with one of their heaviest songs – “Sulfur” is part Disfear, part Dismember, part Integrity, and part Slayer – Divide and Devour is a testament to the power of perseverance. It may have taken them a while, but Destroyed In Seconds have finally clawed their way, through sheer grit and determination, to the head of the pack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing the band’s name mentioned far more frequently, and far more widely, after this.