It’s been five years since Germany’s Old School Thrash Metal legends Desaster dropped The Oath Of An Iron Ritual. Now they are back with a vengeance with their ninth full length, Churches Without Saints.
Desaster – Churches Without Saints
Release Date: 4 June (Metal Blade Records)
Words: Jools Green
Guitarist and founder member Infernal enthuses Churches Without Saints is “a typical Desaster old school Black-Death-Thrash Metal album, with a lot of aggression, but also great atmosphere and epic tunes.”
The title of Churches Without Saints was initially envisaged by Infernal and bassist Odin, but once presented to Sataniac, the vocalist brought it to life. He told us he “started with a few words about the hypocrisy of religion. We played the song a few times in the rehearsal room, and after that, the words came to my mind automatically. We are blinded, and we are still suffering from these old fairy tales. Even after thousands of years, we still think there is a need to save your soul – or something like that – from death. But there isn’t any need for this. Life goes on without you.”
Churches Without Saints is an eleven-track forty-six-minute offering encompassing a lot of depth and philosophy in the lyrics, looking at concepts related to life, death and beyond.
Sataniac says, “regarding Learn To Love The Void, if you still search for a place in Heaven or Hell, it would be easy to find salvation within the nothingness of the void. This is the place for silence, and you don’t have to serve or pray to reach it.
“Please try to learn to love the void. For me, it’s always quite reassuring that everything ends and the more abstract Armed Architects of Annihilation, is about remaining unsure as to what life actually is,” with Sataniac supposing that “maybe our cognitive mind is only a failure in evolution.”
Since the last release, there has been one minor change with Hont taking over behind the kit from previous drummer Tormentor, but he seems to have slipped into the niche nicely. He is a very skilled, technical drummer, and past fans are sure to enjoy this release as much as their previous offerings. It is more or less a business-as-usual Thrash Fest of an album, commanded by Sataniac’s uniquely deranged vocal delivery.
However, this time they have endeavoured to make the sound warmer and smoother, building on the sound created on the 2000 Tyrants of the Netherworld album. They have also kept the content varied and interesting, but where this album will truly come into its own is when performed live.
After the intro The Grace of Sin, Churches Without Saints delivers exactly what you would expect from a good Thrash album, an exhilarating driving pace that is well convoluted in its direction switching, from the first actual track Learn to Love the Void through to the final track Endless Awakening.
After Endless Awakening, you also get a much needed relaxing extended outro, Aus Asche and believe me your mind will need these three minutes of relative calm.
It is an end to end engaging listen that will leave you buzzing as well as thinking about the very deep lyrical content.
I do have a couple of standout tracks. The slower, darker, title track Churches Without Saints with its hugely pronounced blackened undercurrent and menacingly protracted vocals, the exhilarating and insanely driving Sadistic Salvation which, never mind the salvation it will unleash your sadistic side. An excellent track that even when the pace pares back, it continues to drive through. Just when you think it has done with you, it comes back for a final aural assault.
Regarding the crazily convoluted Primordial Obscurity, I love the unrelenting blackened drive of the first couple of minutes before it drops back and switches pace and direction, taking on a punchy but groovy convoluted melody, remaining hugely engaging, returning to the blackened drive to close, and the seven-minute monster, Endless Awakening with its smouldering build, pomp-filled riffs and blackened undercurrent. This track holds surprises with every twist and turn.
All in all, Churches Without Saints is a Thrash-tastic treat for the ears!