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Ken Anthony
Metal Forces, Issue 14 (1985)

Destruction (l-r): Schmier, Mike Sifringer and Tommy Sandmann

‘Black metal’ is of course a popular term to describe some of the most intense, controversial forms of metal ever produced. But whilst it has become an important part of every metal fans vocabulary, it appears the tag has become an almighty burden to a majority of the bands being lumped into the black metal bracket.

The German trio Destruction are one such band who are at pains to dissociate themselves with the Satanical image that comes with the black metal label, as I found out when I recently spoke to drummer Tommy Sandmann:

“No, we don’t like to be called black metal,” states Tommy. “That’s why we changed our original name Knight Of Demon. Okay, we have some lyrics in the black metal direction, but that doesn’t matter. Exodus for example, also have some Satanical lyrics, but you can’t say that they’re a black metal band. I think it depends more on the music if you’re a black metal band or not, not the lyrics. Anyway, the subjects we write about now in our newer material are things like euthanasia and death wishes, not Satanism. If you’re gonna label Destruction’s music, then call us a speed metal band.”

But what are your views on the black metal scene in Germany right now? “I’m not very interested in it really, because most of the black metal bands can’t play and they all sound the same.”

So what is it that separates Destruction from other speed metal bands? “Well, the first thing is that we combine the thrash with much more technical things, which you especially hear in our new songs. Most other bands only play fast and often very primitive, like the awful punk metal bands. I don’t like punk at all.”

How well has your debut mini-album Sentence Of Death sold? “I don’t know exactly how many copies, but it sold really well and we’re very satisfied by its success. Although our new album, Infernal Overkill, surpassed the sales of Sentence Of Death within just six weeks of release.”

Are you happy with Infernal Overkill? “In general, yes, because the album is much better produced than our first; the guitar sound is very heavy and clear. Also, the material is so much better and more technical than on Sentence Of Death.

“This is the direction we will work on, the new songs will be even more complicated and technical with lots of speed in it.”

What about the live front. Have you played many gigs recently? “In June we did about ten shows with Slayer in Germany, and followed this up by headlining an open air festival in Braunschweig (Germany). We plan to do a second tour later this year with several gigs in other European countries, but nothing has been finalised yet.”

Well, whatever you want to label Destruction, there can be no doubt that Tommy, along with Schmier (vocals / bass) and Mike Sifringer (guitars), are destined to become one of the most popular new wave of German thrash / speed / death / black metal bands. And if you haven’t already given your ears an almighty blast of Destruction, then you are strongly advised to do so at the earliest opportunity.

Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 14 (1985)