HRR 548PLP, COMMEMORATIVE EDITION, 40 YEARS OF UNLIMITED THRASH, ltd 500, individually numbered, 425gsm heavy cardboard cover, printed inner sleeve, poster

Schmier - Bass, Vocals
Mike Sifringer - Guitars
Harry Wilkens - Guitars
Oliver Kaiser - Drums

1. Mad Butcher
2. The Damned (Plasmatics cover)
3. Reject Emotions
4. The Last Judgement


Mastered by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in February 2017.

Destruction's second EP “Mad Butcher” first came out in 1987 via Steamhammer; here Destruction’s now-iconic band mascot made his first visual appearance. Moreover, it was the first Destruction release with the two new band members, Oliver Kaiser on drums and new guitarist Harry Wilkens. Original guitarist Mike Sifringer explains why Destruction had decided to extend the band into a four-piece and to include a second guitarist: “Harry was playing in a local band called Razor’s Edge and was known for his great guitar skills. He was the best lead player around and he was able to play this technical, classical stuff. We thought his style would fit, and the music could possibly become more interesting with two guitars.”
Schmier reports how the two new members got into the band and what their influence on the song writing and the whole interpersonal fabric of Destruction was: “They brought in a lot of new influences and we wanted to move forward. Both were skilled musicians, so we were happy to take the next step up the ladder. Also, both came from our region which was very important for the band’s chemistry. We had to replace Tommy because he left the band, and somehow Harry – who already came in for the ETERNAL tour with Kreator – was a friend of Oli's, and so one thing led to another...”
One of the most striking things about the EP is the re-recorded version of “Mad Butcher” with the new double-solos by Mike and Harry, and of course the Pink Panther theme that closes the song in a very humorous way. Oli tells us how it all came about and why they thought it was necessary to remake the first version: “The first songs Schmier, Mike and Harry were jamming along to with me – as the possible new drummer – were 'Mad Butcher' and 'Reject Emotions'. Schmier knew that there was more potential in some of the 'old' songs like 'Mad Butcher', which was part of the current live set and a perfect song to check on how I would be doing with the speed stuff. At the same time they were working on an expanded solo to feature Harry’s outstanding talent. It turned out so well that it became clear it should be recorded anew this way since it reflected how the band was progressing musically. The original version on 'Sentence of Death' was only about two years old, back then nobody thought of it as a cult version that should be left untouched forever. The 'Pink Panther' theme came out of the blue, Harry played it just for fun and I joined on the drums adding a hard rock feel as a joke.”
“Mad Butcher” was recorded at the end of 1986 in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, and produced by Kalle Trapp, a former member of the band Wonderland. Mike on that: “It was a totally new experience to play along to steady drums. The band tried to get tighter and Oli helped a lot with that.”
The EP also contains “The Damned”, originally a song by the Plasmatics, a truly infamous band with one of the most controversial and provocative female singers ever out there, Wendy O. Williams. Were Destruction “just” big fans or what was the reason to do the cover? Schmier: “Harry came up with the idea and we really liked the song. We wanted to try something new and this was the chance. We were big fans of Lemmy and she was one of his muses, that was one important reason to do it... haha... but also the song is really cool and punky, we totally liked that attitude.”
Even so, “Mad Butcher” is far from being a simplistic punk-thing: “Reject Emotions” and “The Last Judgement” definitely show some strong neo-classical traits. Oli explains where Destruction drew their inspiration from: “Again, the credits go to Harry. He was totally inspired by Baroque harmonisation perfected by Bach and he was very positively obsessed with filling in his own melodies to the old masters’ harmonic backings. He also cherished Paganini for that matter and we were all very much in awe how Harry worked out his harmonies and melody lines. This suited Mike very well who also chose a more classical approach to some of his legendary intros. He and Harry made a perfect match, and when the record company called up after the recording of the 'Mad Butcher' EP to say that we needed more material to make it a 'Mini LP', as it was called back then, Harry and Mike took it on themselves to realise 'The Last Judgement' in no time.” Mike agrees: “That’s right, Harry and I had to go back to the studio and create something out of nothing. So 'The Last Judgement' was something like a jam session and an experiment.”
The very intricately composed “Reject Emotions” is sometimes called a “thrash ballad” – but Mike is not really willing to agree: “It’s not really a thrash ballad. The beginning sounds like a ballad, yes, but that’ about it. We wanted to write a song that starts with a mellow feeling, just to show we can.”
As mentioned above, this was the first time that a visual representation of the “Mad Butcher” appeared on the scene. Was there a real, living person who served as a role model for the new mascot, or what else was the spark that brought him into existence? Schmier gives the answer: “Not really, ‘cause this version of the song was just a remake of one of our first songs we ever wrote but the label wanted it like that. They saw the potential. We took the chance to present the new line-up and to experiment a bit. But indeed 'the dude' became our mascot and a cult character for the band, partly because of the brilliant cover art by Sebastian Krüger. Mike wrote the lyrics already back in 1983 and he took his inspiration from the story of Jack the Ripper.” Mike has something to add to this: “Our former manager had the butcher-idea... I like this cover very much. It’s a classic, right?” Yes, it is indeed! Just as much as the EP itself, which had an enormous impact on the further musical development of Destruction. Oli tells us what kind of impact that was: “'Mad Butcher' was very well received, in fact the record got even close to entering the charts. Of course, the rough edges of 'Eternal Devastation' had been evened out but that had not been a conscious decision. At that time everybody was heavily into 'Master of Puppets' and it was clear that 'Reject Emotions' was our way to respond to that album. Harry had such great musical skills that we automatically opted to go the 'Puppets' way as opposed to the 'Reign in Blood' path. Both albums are landmarks of Thrash and Speed but 'Puppets' came out a half year earlier and it defined what you were listening to all summer long in 1986. It was almost like standing at the crossroads back then with the Metallica-versus-Slayer thing, and finally it was 'Reject Emotions' that became something like the blueprint for the songs on 'Release from Agony'.”
Finally, one might expect that there are some interesting stories connected to a classic like 'Mad Butcher'…? Yes, there are a few, and Schmier loves to share them: “I think by now everybody knows that I wrote 'Reject Emotions' after the split with my ex chick from Canada – it was my way of saying goodbye... haha... I was 21, wild and angry. The 'Mad Butcher' t-shirt was the best selling item on a small merch company called EMP. After this great success, the company kept getting bigger and bigger... hahaha... the rest is history as we all know!”

Ulrike Schmitz