Sound — 7
As Destruction's third full length album, Release From Agony, would reassure Teutonic Thrash Metal fans, that this band still meant business. It was the bands first full length release to feature 4 members. The new guitarist, Harry Wilkins, added a particular Neoclassical movement to the music, and encouraged the band to explore a more progressive approach to the bands songs. A couple of clear and defining examples of these elements are clearly heard in the tracks:  Beyond Eternity, and  Sign of fear. Marcel Schirmer, or better known as, Schmier, would resume the duties of Lead Vocalist, and Bassist for the band. Even though this album had a very sub-par production (when compared to the two other Teutonic Thrash Metal Giants [Kreator and Sodom]), if one listens well, Schmier's bass can be heard. It is my opinion that this was one of his finest performances on a Destruction album. The bass-lines are very intricate, well placed, always changing, and attention drawing. It is often those skills that all define Thrash Metal's greatest bassists (names such as Cliff Burton, David Ellifson, Greg Christian, and Frank Bello), and with this album, one can be assured, Schmier is no exception. In fact, perhaps it was the fantastic performance of his Bass with a hint of Neoclassical Guitar licks and riffs that made me fall in love with this album, it made an ordinary Thrash Metal album, that much more interesting, and enjoyable to listen to. Schmier's Vocals on this album were what Destruction fans had anticipated. The familiar clean shrieks/screams that he is recognizable for, and the cutting rattling of his English-written lyrics were all there and accounted for. Folks, Thrash Metal is meant to be fast, aggressive, bad ass and even evil at times, but perhaps it was this album that proved that it could be a little more progressive, and a little more elegant at the same time, how Ironic considering the cover art on this album! Overall, this is my absolute favorite old-school Destruction album. The songs were a cut above all of their previous songs (even their classics.) The percussion, Guitar, and especially Bass performances were literally unmatched on ANY of their previous EP's and LP's. Like a diamond in the ruff, if one is a fan of Sodom's Agent Orange & Persecution Mania, or Kreator's Pleasure to Kill & Extreme Aggression, Release From Agony NEEDS to be fitted with those classics. Although for some strange reason it never was...a travesty in my honest opinion.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics on Release From Agony, were some of the best, if not the best that Destruction ever wrote (up to that point.) This could be easily attributed to Schmier, and Schmier ALONE, it is easily proven when one listens to the HORRIBLE lyrics Destruction and the bands new vocalist (at the time) Andr Grieder wrote for their next album after Release From Agony: Cracked Brain. It was the lyrics that surprised me the most out of all the aspects of this amazing album. Destruction was always the poorest out of the Big 3 for quality lyrics, 70% of the time on their two previous LP's, the lyrics literally made absolutely no sense, I attribute this to the language barrier. It was as if Schmier had taken a ESL class before sitting down to write the lyrics on this album. The lyrics not only MADE sense, they had profoundly dark, and often deeper meanings to them that a listener couldn't help but to further explore into. One of the most aspiring and darkest lyrics off this album is the chorus of the albums third song - Dissatisfied Existence, they are as follows: "Dissatisfied existence What's the meaning of my life? Dissatisfied existence Is it worth to be alive? " As I mentioned before, Schmier was everything a Destruction fan wanted vocal-wise for this LP, which coincidentally would be his last with Destruction for over a decade. Schmier's vocal style is most like Dave Mustaine's (Megadeth)in my honest opinion, simply because his (their) vocal style(s) are an acquired taste. You either love them or hate them. I am a huge fan of Megadeth and Destruction, so naturally I enjoy the uniqueness of these bands vocalists.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is a MUST have if you are a fan of bands like Kreator, Sodom, and even Exumer. It saddens me that this album NEVER got the RECOGNITION it so righteously deserved. Many classic thrash metal albums had poorer production, and still managed to become iconic albums. (EX. Metallica's Kill 'Em All, Megadeth's Killing Is My Business...and Business Is good!, Slayer's Show No Mercy & Hell Awaits, and the list goes on and on.)In my opinion the best tracks off this album are as follows: Tracks 1-5:Beyond Eternity, Release From Agony, Dissatisfied Existence, Sign of Fear, Unconscious Ruins, and lastly track 8 : Survive To Die....what can I say, who doesn't love a little tribute to a Glen Miller swing tune as a means to close off this landmark album! What I love most about this album? Quite simply it is the musical performance, especially on the bass by Schmier, and the lead Guitar - Harry Wilkins. I love the progression, I love how the bass just doesn't sit back in the "pocket," how it jumps up at times, and DEMANDS to be noticed. What I hate most about this album, is very obvious - THE PRODUCTION! For a band that is part of the Big Three Teutonic Trash Metal bands, you and I would expect more. If Destruction takes the time to remaster/remix this gem, I will be the first one to buy it off the shelves. If someone ever stole this album from me, I would kick their ass and takes it back (if I knew the hooligan), and if not, I would happily and righteously go and buy it again. SUPPORT YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS FOLKS! Overall, this is a landmark album, If you haven't heard it - YOU ARE MISSING OUT! If you have heard it, you know that it is so, so, so, underrated, and if you love this band, you most certainly would have this LP somewhere in your top three Destruction albums. THRASH TILL DEATH!