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Friday, August 19, 2022

Review: Desaster – Churches without Saints

Label: Metal Blade Records

Date: June 4th, 2021

How many bands can you count that have signed to a major label without compromising their sound to the needs of the label itself? Fingers of one hand, am I right? Hell, the said hand may be a couple of fingers short, too. Meanwhile, Desaster still epitomizes underground in all its glory with just two fingers held up high, for the glory of the horned lord.

What Desaster did gain from signature on the major contract is the chance to work with extra talented graphic artists, such as Marcos Miller who likely made the best Desaster cover artwork to date. Also, the production work is simply stunning on this record. Whether it was as expensive as it sounds is beyond me, but I adore how meaty and bass laden “Churches without Saints” sounds. I would even go as far as to call this the best production to date when it comes to the bands albums.

But the most important is the actual musical creativity on display. Is it on the level with the “bests” mentioned above? Perhaps not. Does “Churches without Saints” stand shoulder to shoulder with “A Touch of Medieval Darkness” or “Tyrants of the Netherworld”? Likely not, but what can we expect from a three decades old band?

The album is not the best they’ve created, but should we even care? Even rarer occasion than a band who does not compromise even on a label such as Metal Blade Records is a band that makes their best album thirty years in.

However, what “Churches without Saints” is, is an excellent album throughout. Considering a flood of bands looking up to the German cult, Desaster are still an unparalleled commando. Their songs are still shouting orders to headbang as hard as possible. Their riffs are still as catchy as the Covid virus. The drums, though devoid of legendary Tormentor, commanding and pummeling through and through. Along with the clearly audible and driving bass lines and front-lined screaming, the album is yet another lesson from the Teutonic masters.

I’ve mentioned above the flailing creative effort. If you took my commentary wrong, you shouldn’t have. Desaster are still very much capable of crafting songs you will remember. Take a slower, hammering title track. Or “Endless Awakening” that sounds as if it came right off “A Touch of Medieval Darkness”, just to show how connected to their origins the Germans actually are. “Learn to Love the Void” is yet another excellent example of the fact that you cannot quite exhaust a really creative mind. Plus, it is an example of a fast thrasher, contrary to the two previously mentioned tracks. Well, “Endless Awakening” picks up the pace substantially in the end section, but that’s beside the point.

In any case, five years on from their previous full length record, Desaster definitely (again) proves their worth. Speaking honestly, I see no competition to these titans within the thrashing black society. I cannot even see a band that will carry on the torch when the Germans pass it on. So, let us hope they will hold it for a long time still.