Review Summary: A solid album that utilizes thrash and black metal styles in a memorable way.
Just when you were tiring of the straightforward thrash approach of other acts this year, Desaster throws us a curve ball of sorts with this, their latest effort. Desaster are noteworthy for their signature black-thrash style, transfusing the two genres into one evil sounding final product. The band has been playing their potent brand of metal for nearly twenty-five years, and shows no signs of aging or deterioration with this, their seventh studio album.
Whether you’re strictly a fan of black metal or thrash metal, this album is certain to appeal to you for it takes the key aspects of each genre and puts them all into one accessible album. All the usual scathingly dark topics of black metal are there, such as satanism, possession, hate, and war. These topics coupled with the bands aggressive and evil sounding vocalist make the music sound decidedly dreary and menacing. Take all of this and layer it with thrashy riffs and fast drumming and you have Desaster. The mixing of the styles works pretty well and it offers a fresh take on the genres.
Throughout much of the first half of the album, the band plays aggressively and abrasively, never letting up in intensity. This full out musical assault sounds quite impressive, but may get stale after a few listens. Luckily, the second half shows more variation and offers a somewhat softer and more concentrated side of the band, with slower and melodic guitar parts thrown in on songs such as "Possessed and Defiled" and in the aptly titled "Outro". The second half is also more thrash oriented, offering more effective and memorable riffing than the first half.
The band displays excellent musicianship that never fails to please. The riffing is effective and varied, with memorable riffing exploding out of nearly each track. The drumming is also quite exceptional, complimenting the guitars when necessary and keeping the tempo efficiently enough. Bass frequency is probably not where I would like it to be, but it is audible. Basically the band has a solid musical foundation on which they can deliver some truly memorable material. This coupled with the brutal and scathing approach to vocalizing utilized by front man Sataniac, conjures up an exceptional metal album that offers strong material.
The album does wilt in a few places though. The biggest issue I have with this album is that it generally lacks variation. Aside from a couple tracks that show a slight melodic side, the material is mostly the same aggressive and intense thrashy/black metal that you hear from the first couple tracks onward. The band actually sounds best when they slow down and play melodically, but the ten minutes they do this on here is par for the course. Another issue is that the vocals lack variation. The vocalist sounds evil and menacing enough, but that is exactly how he sounds throughout the whole record. No pitch change, no clean vocals, just aggressive yells and metal shrieks through out the entirety of the record.
Overall I would say that I generally enjoyed this album. It does offer a fresh sound and the band does have it's own signature style. It is a solid effort that I will come back to throughout the year. But there is no progression and little variation in their sound. Still, it is a memorable performance that offers strong material to those who take the time to listen.