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DESTRUCTOR – Metal Overdose
Bernard Doe
Metal Forces, Issue 15 (1985)

Destructor (l-r): Matt Flammable, Dave Overkill, Dave Holocaust and Pat Rabid

One of the most promising demos for me of the past 12 months has been the Smash Your Skulls With Power cassette from Cleveland, Ohio’s Destructor. Not that the production was anything to write home about. In fact, it was more like a rehearsal tape than a demo. But the intensity and sheer power that the band produced on that tape indicated to me that, given the right guidance, Destructor would soon be capable of thrashing alongside their more established counterparts like Slayer, Exodus and Exciter.

You may remember that when I reviewed the band in ‘Demolition’ (Metal Forces issue #11) they had just signed to Auburn Records and were about to unleash their debut EP, Pounding Evil. However, due to the fact that the band felt they had such a vast amount of quality material, it was agreed to release a full-length album instead.

That album is entitled Maximum Destruction, and should be available by the time you read this. Having heard the rough mixes, I can confirm that expectations are high for a classic debut. But due to past experiences I’ll reserve my judgment until I’ve heard the final product.

Anyway, on the eve of the album’s release, now seemed as good a time as any to speak to Destructor’s lead vocalist / guitarist Dave Overkill.

First of all Dave, how did it all begin? “Destructor was formed about 18 months ago by myself, Pat Rabid (guitar), Paul Warhead (bass) and a drummer who we’ve since replaced with Matt Flammable.

“Then 6 months ago, we replaced Paul with Dave Holocaust, because he had a lot of problems in his personal life and things didn’t always work out. I mean, we needed someone who would turn up for practice all the time and put 100% effort into the band. Which, unfortunately, Paul wasn’t.”

Have Destructor always played thrash metal. Indeed, would you use the term ‘thrash’ to describe your music? “In the beginning, it was the NWOBHM that influenced us and bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and the Scorpions too. But as we started to get better, metal started to progress and we just naturally started playing our songs faster. So I guess, yeah, it’s thrash metal, but we just like to call it heavy fuckin’ metal.”

The first photo I saw of the band had you wearing make-up. But you’ve dropped that haven’t you? “Yeah, that’s right. The reason being is that every magazine we see now has bands wearing make-up. But when we first started wearing the stuff it was really cool and we were really into it, because we were one of the first. But now it’s such a common thing that we thought, fuck that, we’ll just be ourselves.”

When you sent me your first demo, I remember you making a point of stating that you were not a black metal band. Has it always been your intention to stay away from all the Satanical overtones? “Yeah, well some of the other guys in the band are really into black metal, but it really bums me off that all the bands who write this Satanic shit sound the same and sing about the same topic. We want to be as diverse as possible in our lyrical content; more like the hardcore punk bands who write about anything and everything – things that are happening in the real world and not all this fantasy stuff.”

You mention hardcore punk bands. Do you draw any influences from them? “Lyrically probably, and in our attitudes for sure.”

Dave Overkill
Pic: Ian Gilmore

How did you get involved with Auburn Records? “Well, we were getting a lot of exposure in Cleveland and Bill Peters, boss of Auburn, came to see us play and was really impressed. Also at the time, there were no other thrash bands in Cleveland; most of the bands around then were real commercial. Anyway, Bill has built up the confidence in what we are doing and we really feel that we are getting our satisfaction from the deal we have.”

What is the Cleveland metal scene like at the moment? “Actually, there’s a lot of talent in Cleveland and a lot of people who want to get it together. But the club scene is so bad that there’s no clubs who want to deal with metal. They prefer all that other kind of bullshit. That’s the thing that’s hurting the whole Cleveland metal scene; the fact that there are no venues to play.”

What type of metal bands are there in Cleveland now? “Well as I said, at one point it was all commercial bands – everyone wanted to be popular sounding. But now, with all this thrash that’s coming out all over the world, the trend is changing.”

Don’t you think that we’re maybe now getting over polluted with thrash bands, and most of them sound the same? “Yes I do, and that’s why we didn’t want to fall into certain categories like a majority of the bands, because we wanted to stand out; a little exhibition of doing something different.”

What thrash bands then do you think have their own identity? “Celtic Frost, Slayer and Exodus I think stand out the most. Both Slayer and Exodus have their own style and that’s what we’re trying to create.

“I also believe we have the ability to play more than just thrash; look what bands like Metallica and Armored Saint have done with it. We wouldn’t necessarily want to be like them, but what they have accomplished so far is our ambition; get to be big and prove that we’re not just thrash, but a heavy metal band and can do it all.”

Then what musical direction do you see Destructor taking in the future? “Well, we always wanna be heavy and grinding. Down the line we night have a couple of songs that may be different, but never wimpy. But we don’t sit down and say we wanna be like this or that. Whatever we come up with we write it, and we don’t write songs we don’t use; if we don’t think it’s gonna be a good song then we don’t finish it.”

Did you get much feedback from your demo Smash Your Skulls With Power? “Oh yeah! We’ve had a lot of mail from being in your magazine alone, as well as the feature in Kick Ass Monthly.

“Actually, when we made that demo it was just an attempt at getting onto local college radio, and now there’s a couple of different versions of the demo about. But we never meant for the demo to go as far as it has. It’s really taken us all by surprise!”

Well, if you’ve yet to taste the sheer devastation of Destructor then I’m sure you’ll too be taken by surprise.

Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 15 (1985)

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