After five long years of waiting, the German black/thrash metal legends Desaster return to unleash their overwhelming ninth studio album ‘Churches without Saints‘ out on June 4th via Metal Blade Records. Since 1988 the German juggernauts preserved their roots to blackened thrash metal and were among the first bands who pushed boundaries of extreme metal. Making their first appearance in 1996, their debut album ‘A Touch of Medieval Darkness’ conveyed the quality of old school aggression with the satanic power and formidable force of belligerency. Despite worldwide success the German cult group kept a low profile and stayed true to their sound. Their back catalog contains classic albums such as ‘Hellfire’s Dominion‘, ‘Tyrants of the Netherworld‘, ‘The Arts of Destruction‘ and many more. In the past twenty-five years, Desaster carried their craft with consistency and firmness. Their newest offering ‘Churches without Saints‘ is no exception to what the band has attained before with songs driven by frenzied energy and searing guitar riffs.
After the short cinematic intro ‘The Grace of Sin‘ the guitars give an unrelenting sense of aggression with the vibrant tremolos resounding heavily on ‘Learn to Love the Void‘. The riffing takes many twists between black metal and old-school thrash metal. By whirling powerful catchy melodies the songs overflow into galloping riffs. The modern production has its effect on the guitar sound, but the German blackened thrashers show that they keep a firm grip as’Failing Trinity‘ initiates with razor-sharp riffing. Through excellent songwriting, the songs are as intensely ferocious as they are memorable. Desaster has found an optimal balance between melodies and aggression.
The opening riff on ‘Exile Is Imminent‘ puts emphasis on the catchy melodies and it seems that the band maintains a sort of equilibrium between the fast and mid-tempos. There is often an excellent contrast to the poignancy of the tidal tremolos and the flow of the catchy rhythms, brilliantly displayed on this track. ‘Churches without Saints‘ delivers a gritty performance from the German quartet that managed to provide gnarly riffs in the violent style of classic blackened thrash metal. The album title track starts with flawless tremolo-picked riffs. The songs on the album are nourished by the masterful level of instrumentation. At the same time the band eschews a violent and energetic style, preferring to focus on mid-tempo paces. Guitarist Infernal delivers epic tremolo lines that get awash with catchy blackened melodies.
Despite the polished production the level of ferocity seems to be turned down a little bit compared to the previous album. On ‘Churches without Saints‘ the riffs are galore whereas the songs mainly build on the elements of old school thrash metal. Desaster offers some fast tempo tracks such as ‘Hellputa‘. ‘Sadistic Salvation‘ is played with speed and enthusiasm. The riffs emanate consistently with hooks, whilst aggression and energy all seem to be brought by a diverse range of riffing techniques. The songs somehow feel diluted in a mixture of melodic elements of thrash and black metal. ‘Armed Architects of Annihilation (In Clarity for Total Death)‘ contains many aggressive moments where the pounding percussion adds powerful strikes and drum rolls. Over the duration of forty-five minutes, Desaster delivers unique musicianship and a gritty set of memorable tracks. Overall, the songs are inspired by the elements of speed and eighties thrash metal. The only part lacking is the thrusting effect of the guitars.
‘Primordial Obscurity‘ begins with shattering blast beats and raucous vocal lines. ‘Churches without Saints‘ exemplifies the change in the songwriting maturity, resulting in cohesive work between the veterans. ‘Endless Awakening‘ incorporates authentic, thundering riffs. The songs feature some catchy tremolos and blackened melodies. The militaristic drum pace marches in an energetic tempo, while quite often the band adds some infectious melodies, resulting in a classic fusion of black and thrash metal.
The final track ‘Aus Asche‘ opens the doors for some future experimentation in sound and style. Although I still prefer the older albums over their contemporary works, ‘Churches without Saints‘ is an introspective album that reflects on the classic period of eighties thrash metal. Showing signs of unexpected metamorphosis, the long hiatus proves that Desaster has ripened their excellent songwriting skills, thus marking the beginning of a new era for the band.
Release Date: June 4th, 2021
Label: Metal Blade Records
- The Grace of Sin (Intro)
- Learn To Love The Void
- Failing Trinity
- Exile Is Imminent
- Churches Without Saints
- Sadistic Salvation
- Armed Architects of Annihilation (In Clarity for Total Death)
- Primordial Obscurity
- Endless Awakening
- Aus Asche (Outro)