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"Human Pain Threshold", Destruction Unit @Galeria Zé Dos Bois, Lisbon (POR) - 31/10 Live Report

For those who have read my previous articles, you know I don’t like to use other bands to compare to the ones I’m writing about. For those who are reading an article of mine for the first time, I don’t usually do this. However, this time round, I’ll make an exception.

Have you ever thought what a mix of Hawkwind, Comets On Fire and Gallon Drunk would sound like? If you did, look no further.

Behold Destruction Unit!

These five Americans from Arizona are not afraid to play loud and they present us with a surprising new route to ear bleeding volume. Also, they don’t just assault you with sound. Their delivery to what they do is physical, exhilarating and violent. They hurtle themselves into what they are doing like possessed people during an exorcism.

Touring Deep Trip (the band’s latest record on Sacred Bones), I was told Destruction Unit didn’t soundcheck for the gig. If it was for this gig only, I don’t know. Their only specification was ‘we play at 110 decibels’ which is the human pain threshold and also 20 decibels less than an airplane taking off (at 100 metres). The truth is that, unkowningly, we were ready for take off.

The guitars flow wild and abused, the drums are quick, fast and furious and the vocals are thrown into the microphone like a crazed Southern preacher that emerged from a desert soulsearching journey seeking redemption would do telling tales of repent and doomsday. The key element that makes this work is the bass that (alongside the drums) keeps providing a safe though shaky ground to the surrounding tight hurricane like chaos that pour unto us people in the audience.

Elements of Hawkwind permeate their sound through three guitars that generate a whooshiness to the songs and if you like the more direct approach of Comets On Fire’s first record, then this is your cup of tea (quite possibly spiced by some nefarious drug). Another element that makes Destruction Unit stand apart is a singer/guitarrist that recycles Gallon Drunk’s sleazed up decadent ways and abandon where, at least, a redemption of sorts was tried (and possibly failed).

Such intensity has a downside unfortunately. The set was just about 25 minutes long and, depending who you’re dealing with, everybody was so psyched by the show that we needed more to release our own built up energy. The feel in the room was so tense you could almost grab it. Everybody just needed more. One more outburst of exploding energy to beat us into the ground. I felt like I was flying so high that I wanted an extra engine to propel me even higher and not to have my engine fail on me, bringing me back to the ground.

(That’s why I needed to go out after the show and get wasted at an already mythical event is Lisbon called Salón Fuzz)

The Destruction Unit came with intent to destroy but this building they imploded required a heavier dose of dynamite to crumble and, after the show, this building was still standing. WE were still standing. Ruined, wrecked and damaged. But standing. Next time around though, I’ll be there for another wrecking because they were just so good…

Report made by Carlos Ferreira/2013
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