Black vinyl with 4 page insert. Limited 350 copies
The entity known as Destroya was born in 1979 at the East End of London, being the brainchild of Andy Gregory (V) and Brian Moore (B) – and it’s worth pointing out that there’s a indirect connection with none other than Iron Maiden, as some of Destroya’s early musicians were part of the Maiden’s road crew. There’s an interesting bio to be read in the insert of this EP, so I won’t delve too deep into personnel changes and similar info: it’s enough for our purposes to say they went as far as to record a 4-track demo in early 1983, leaving behind the sombre imagery from their formative years and choosing to adopt some glam-rocking looks (not really attuned to most of their music to be honest, but never mind). They also started to use some silly pseudonyms (Andy Gregory became “Diamond” and Brian Moore chose to call himself “Genocide”), and the two original musicians were assisted for this recording by two ex-Rampant musicians: Ricky Tiley on drums, who was christened as (prepare for a surprise) “Rampant”, and guitarist Paul “Jax” Playle. They made a hundred copies of it back in the day, and now the tracks are available for a wider audience thanks to this careful vinyl reissue. After an intro full of distortion and feedback, “Violent Streets” launches in a very intense fashion, with aggressive riffing and a more restrained (yet heavy enough) chorus. The production is very raw, admittedly, but I think it adds to the overall effect of juvenile energy and power. It’s a good number, showing that Destroya could comfortably sit alongside the most metallic acts of the period such as Satan, Mythra and even Iron Maiden themselves (although they were surely way more riff-oriented than Steve Harris and the boys). Second song “Victims of War” reminds me, both in structure and lyrical concept, of Jaguar’s “War Machine” – even the vocal melodies are similar, you see. I think it’s nothing more than a coincidence (it doesn’t seems reasonable to think a band actually heard the demo material from the other), but it still is quite a remarkable resemblance. As for the song itself, it’s a competent attempt to create a dramatic wartime song, even though a bit immature in places. I wouldn’t say that Destroya were victims of a brutal injustice when they disbanded a few months after releasing this demo recordings (some of the musicians resurfaced almost immediately as Shanghai Tiger, incidentally), as there’s nothing here that really defies belief in terms of quality. But they sure had a fair deal of promise, and perhaps it could have developed into something greater if they had managed to soldier on a little longer. Oh well, all the might-have-beens. Surprisingly, they reunited in the first half of the 90s and recorded two other demos in a more Thrash Metal style. This vinyl EP, though, is still their only officially-released legacy, so I suppose buying a copy would be a good decision for the NWOBHM completists out there.
1. Violent Streets
2. Victims Of War
3. Stay With Me