Destruction Live Without Sense
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“Live withouht Sense” from 1989 was Destruction’s very first live album, and according to Schmier, “it was a big challenge. Back in the day, a live album was a status symbol. So we wanted this record to show the strength and live power of the band. It was very special to us”.
Destruction’s first live album serves as a good starting point for everybody who wants to get to know Destruction in the 80s period, as it contains material from all three full-length albums and has this outstanding sound. Does it make sense to recommend “Live without Sense” as a starter drug? Oli agrees: “Yes, it might be a good starter for those unfamiliar with Destruction’s 80s output, it shows that this line-up was able to make the songs sound homogeneous, and it’s good to see that the fans who like the album actually enjoy the songs rather than the particular sound they were wrapped in on their original releases. ‘Live without Sense’ helped a lot of Destruction songs to be appreciated again since a lot of new fans that came with ‘Mad Butcher’ thought those first releases sounded crappy, which of course they don’t, but many people thought so back then.”
“Live without Sense” was recorded at several gigs throughout the “Release from Agony Tour 87/88”, and Schmier has a hard time picking his most memorable moments from that tour: “There were so many – the Motörhead tour over Europe and the Cro-Mags tour in the USA/Canada were very special and influenced the band a lot. The show with Motörhead and Girlschool in Lisbon was super exciting as thousands of fans gathered in the afternoon and were screaming out all three band names for hours. The show at night was pure Latino madness at its best. Unforgettable. And I also will never forget that in Phoenix, Arizona, Dougie, the Cro-Mags’ guitarist, almost got shot in front of the venue by some gangsters while I was standing right next to him. That was one of the most horrible experiences in a young mans’ tour life…”
Loaded with a lot of interesting stories and a bunch of expectations, how did fans and press react to Destruction’s first live recordings? Schmier: “The album got very good reactions. The only criticism was the sound of the snare drum but we wanted it to sound like an extreme Alex Van Halen one. So it was intentional! Many fans still tell us that ‘Live without Sense’ is their most favourite live album ever and I must say it is probably also my favourite 80s Destruction record.”
This was the last official release before Schmier left Destruction. Did his decision already have any influence on the tour and the overall vibe, or had it not yet become an issue?
Mike answers this one: “We already had problems before. Schmier and the band had different opinions about songwriting. The big discussions started when we composed ‘Release from Agony’. The band wanted to get more technical, and Schmier wanted to keep it more straight. So there was some tension, which was really not good for the atmosphere within the band.”
Calling the album “Live without Sense” after the song from ”Eternal Devastation” is a cool pun. Who came up with the idea? Oli: “It was evident somehow – born from the communitarian spirit of the holy Destruction tribe, haha…”
The album was mixed at Power Sound Factory, Vienna, Austria. Schmier has some more details on the recording process: “It was the house engineer who mixed the record, together with Rainer Hänsel (our manager at that time) and myself in Vienna. We wanted to have somebody who is not involved in the Metal scene to be an independent judge, that’s how Vienna came in somehow. But I really remember that I fell in love with the city at that time ‘cause Joachim Luetke – the cover artist – lived there and he also came from the same village in southwest Germany as me.”
“Live without Sense” is widely praised for the high sound quality. How was this achieved, how much effort went into making it sound so great?”
Mike: “We managed to get a very good engineer, Herwig Ursin, for this album. He was originally from Austria but worked in the U.S. for bands like RacerX. The final mix was fixed by him and Schmier, and it’s good work I must say.”
Asked about the things he likes best about the record, Schmier says: “The raw energy lasts till today. It is a timeless record, somehow. I love that we have captured an important period of our career in such great quality. For me the album brings back memories of the best times we ever had on the road in the 80s. Pure chills!!!”
For the HRR-release the album was mastered by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony – what is Oli’s opinion on the outcome? “It’s brilliant. Patrick did a great job and so did André with the graphics. Fantastic!”
Oli also reveals what beautiful extra gimmick “Live without Sense” contains: “Well, the original vinyl record omitted ‘Thrash Attack’ for reasons of limited running time on the record, but it was included on the CD version. High Roller Records opted for the inclusion of ‘Thrash Attack’ and compensated the running time problem by adding a 7” with ‘Release from Agony’ on the A side and ‘Bestial Invasion’ on the flip side. So this actually marks the first time the album is complete on vinyl, thanks to High Roller! Needless to say the album comes with more goodies like a great insert, a promo card and a poster of the album art.”