Frank heads to Germany to check out the new album by Desater..here’s what he thought…
After a five year wait, German blackened thrash veterans “Desaster” return with a new release in the form of “Churches without Saints” the ninth full length release from a near 33 year career.
The teutonic pioneers of this style of extreme metal bring forth 46 minutes of violence,death,pain and destruction at a near non stop pace.
Drawing you in with a intro that’s calm and sedate, then the violence ascends immediately from the beginning of “Learn to love the Void” a pure old school “Destruction” style thrash number with a hint of black metal in the bridge, but with an incredible double bass drum attack from new (if you can call 3 years in the band new) recruit “Hont” making his debut recording with the band. “Hont’s” drumming stays consistently impressive throughout the whole album, almost being the main ingredient holding everything together. Throwing in a few lines in their native German is always a winner, shame more German bands don’t do it, but more about that later.
More 1980’S thrash bleeds through on “Failing Trinity” with its catchy headbanging riff orchestrated by the heavy bass line once again delivered by band stalwart “Odin” who delivers with competence like a seasoned professional of 30 years experience should.
Things take a decidedly more blackened approach with “Exile is Imminent” the intro is maybe the wrong choice to introduce the song but once the main riff kicks in, accompanied by the aforementioned double bass attack it is pure Carpathian forest blackness. Add to that the near death metal guttural roar of vocalist “Satanic” you have a near perfect blackened thrash track.
“Churches without Saints” the title track is almost out of place on the album, it slows things down with a dark atmospheric look at religion and all of its faults. This track is almost Doom with its delivery and would not be amiss on a “Paradise Lost” album. Although I feel there is something missing that would have brought it to the fore as a title track.
We are back to the thrash with “Hellputa” a no holds barred track that bares its teeth delivered with power speed and aggression. A short sharp shock of a song that would definitely get a pit opened up at a live show. We are then firmly back in blackened territory with “Sadistic Salvation” which delivers lyrically. Definitely a song with a nod towards the mighty Venom while summoning beelzebub himself.
“ Armed Architects of Annihilation” delivers like an iron bar being smacked across your face. With its shredding riffs tearing into your senses in an unrelenting barrage, this is pure thrash metal. “Primordial Obscurity” falls back into the blackened variety of thrash with an orchestral sounding riff then changes pace to a slower riff with deep groove midsection before picking up speed again to finish you off. Its a track that would slip easily into almost any of the “Desaster” back catalogue as it the track that resembles what they have produced before.
The obligatory or so it may seem acoustic guitar opening arrives on “Endless Awakening”. A bit more mid tempo than most tracks on the album, almost brooding as it goes along, it relies on the heavy element rather than all out speed. To finish the album, the band chose a strange outro “Aus Asche ”. It is so completely left field. It’s a slimmed down “Rammstein” europop metal song with hushed vocals spoken in German. Worth a listen out of curiosity but definitely one to skip over if it’s not your thing.
There is plenty of light and shade in this record, a balanced variation on a theme, enough for a purist thrasher to enjoy while perhaps not delving as deep into the blackened element of thrash we have seen on previous records released by “Desaster”. Vocaly Satanic has firmly sided on the more death element to he’s range. Whereas previously he was never afraid to change style to suit a certain song.
The production is a deviation from the harsh element of 2016’s “ The Oath Of An Iron Ritual” . With a smoother dare I say softer result. Production and mix duties fell to “Jan Gensheimer” who has helped deliver a full sound especially with a constantly changing guitar style from allout thrash to black metal.
Blackened thrash as genre is ever evolving as it takes influences from a multitude of directions that helps keep it fresh sounding. Although not their best work “Desaster” have delivered another record they can be proud of.
Overall “Churches without Saints” is a very welcome return for this influential band. It was released on all formats by the legendary Metal Blade label on June 4th.