Desaster_The Oath of an Iron RitualDesaster is fuckin’ coconuts. There, I said it and I stand by it. The reigning overlords of overkill are back for an eighth album full of lunatic blackened speed/thrash loaded with nods to the deep roots of metal and NWoBHM. They’ve always been unhinged, unpredictable and at times almost a parody of metal itself, but they’ve churned out some righteously amusing and trve moments of molten goodness over their leather and spike studded career. 2012s The Arts of Destruction was one of their finest moments and left me wanting much more, but the band saw fit to make us all wait 4 years for The Oath of an Iron Ritual. Needless cruelty and bad ass album titles aside, it’s here now and the legionnaire armed with a spear on the cover clearly gives me the metallic legitimacy to opine on what’s in store for lovers of overdone, bombastic speed.

One of the joys of listening to a Desaster album is the constant feeling things are about to go haywire and wreck desasterously, as if the band are poised to ignite or explosively decompress, getting blown into the void as the music reaches more and more unreasonable speeds. Hell, they usually sound that way even at moderate speeds. Happily, this out-of-control vibe is present on rabid opener “Proclamation in Shadows” and it’s exactly the kind of music I want from Desaster – frantic black thrash that sounds like Show No Mercy era Slayer fighting Bathory and Piledriver in a burning Bouncy House. But like the more recent platters they also cram in a butt-ton of quirky melody and interesting flavors alongside the carnage and dumpster fisticuffs, especially on the song’s back-end.

The maniacal speed and nuthouse frenzy runs throughout “End of Tyranny” and vocalist Sataniac outdoes himself with a slobbering, vomitous performance that’s both awesome and ridiculous in equal measure. “The Cleric’s Arcanum” is the most like old school Desaster, rivaling their mighty “Alliance to the Powerthrone” for most brilliantly ludicrous moment in Germanic metal history. Insane, aggressive and uncontrollable by modern science, this is what you’d want blasting over the intercom as your 747 plunged toward an apocalyptic explosion (please return your tray tables to the upright position). “Haunting Sirens” offers a seven plus minute take on blackened thrash with various melodic bells and whistles and “Damnatio Ad Bestias” introduces classic metal riffs from the Judas Priest/Saxon playbook but sped up to respectably savage levels. Other gems include “Conquer & Contaminate” with its hell blazing insanity right off Inferno‘s epic Utter Hell platter, and title track which goes full cheddar for some gleefully amazeballs fun that’s so metal it might actually embarrass you a little deep down inside.


Every track has its own filthy pleasures and the album flows well between crazy thrash and more restrained moments. It doesn’t matter that some of the songs hit over 7 minutes because the very nature of the Desaster style guarantees things stay interesting, incredulous and oddly addicting throughout. The sound is raw but clear enough to hear all the jagged edges and caveman musicianship and together it’s all a brilliant shit show in the same way as early Sepultura and all Sarcofago albums and that kinda thing never gets olde.

As on all Desaster platters, the completely unstable vokills of Sataniac are the star attraction. He uses a combination thrash bark/blackened squeal and to say it’s overdone doesn’t come close to explaining it. He stands alongside Chris Reifert of Autopsy as the most over the top vocalist in metal and I love his commitment to over-commitment. On top of these thrashing bashing riffs he throws up a complete hungry man breakfast special with extra yoke and mayo. Even when the riffs are restrained and melodic, there he is, technicolor yawning all over the notes. It’s a special thing really. Providing the musical canvas for these rarefied puke-works, guitarist Infernal digs deep into the history of classic metal, thrash and proto-blackness to cobble together a compelling collection of leads. Some are all about the speed but just as many are almost stadium ready rockers. He’s adept at blending all these influences in inventive ways and the songs shift and morph in amusing (read as: chaotic) ways. The rhythm section of Odin (bass) and Tormentor (drums) provide a rocky, thunderous backbone with a good amount of punk swagger and though Desaster are definitely not the most technical or skilled band out there, that’s part of what makes them so damn endearing.

The Oath of an Iron Ritual is a ton of freaky fun and exactly what you want from a Desaster outing. It’s a small mark below The Arts of Destruction but still more than enough to satisfy the need for offbeat, overblown metal high on the kvlt and trve scale. Put on your anti-drool bib and rubber gloves and take the iron oath ov metal!

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 271 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Releases Worldwide: April 8th, 2016



  • Iain Gleasure

    I feel like Druhm reviews are getting to the point where he writes them up then just adds in words like steel, power, and trve, where he feels like it.

  • Blueberry Balls


    • Pope Palpatine, is that you?

  • Iliast

    This. Right. Here.

  • Westpaceagle

    Goddamn that is some metal right there! Getting it based on the review and embed. Guess I’ll be shelling out for The Arts of Destruction while I am at it…

  • Pimpolho

    This really reminds me of Sarcófago, and damn, i love Sarcófago.

  • IamRipper

    Great review, man. I’m fired up.

  • Necrocustard

    Nice. Highly accurate review! I do get a weird scooby reminder from the vocals though…

  • Luke_22

    This band rips. Reliable lunacy indeed. Nice review.

  • Kronos

    Olde English Text MT rears its ugly head again.

    • SegaGenitals

      Yeah, it like totally impacts my enjoyment of the album. Total metal faux pas…

    • It might be generic, but it beats Times New Roman. You can’t really mean that it’s ugly, just because it’s overtly used? Well, at least I’m not tiring.
      The cover art on the other hand… Hasn’t that painting been used before? It’s great, but I for one don’t like recycled art.

      • Martin Roth

        Yep, Sons of Crom – Conqueror, not too long ago.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          That’s kind of sucky. They even used the same font.

      • In Those Darn Gnomes debut, too!

        • maartje

          And the rerelease of Whelm’s debut !

    • Martin Roth

      Wait until Swedeath rediscovers the joys of Papyrus…

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Trve, trve…

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    This music makes my blood boil so much I want to incite an apocalypse on an ant farm. Die!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Don’t let Kronos hear ya, he’s got a thing for those buggers. I don’t. I have ’em in my house now, and I feel like fetching the flame thrower.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        You make a good point… I once had a roommate that thought he could trick the ants into leaving the house if he laid a trail of food from the kitchen out to the patio… We aren’t friends anymore.

        • Hahaha…. Oh my fucking god. :)
          If you ever see him again, make sure to tell him suger and honey poured upon the floor is the thing to rid of ants. He’ll probably buy it.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            He probably will! I’ll let him know :)

  • Berit Dogg

    Trve metal is created when the ridicolous and the awesome collide and blow up. Great review mr Druhm, “commitment to over-commitment”, heck yes!

  • Dagoth_RAC

    Is that cover art original? It looks vaguely familiar, like it is a famous painting and/or has been used on a prior metal album.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I got that vibe too.

    • Reese Burns

      Someone mentioned earlier that it’s the cover of a Sons of Crom album

    • hallowed

      It’s a painting called Pandaemonium by John Martin.

      • Dagoth_RAC

        Thanks! I immediately thought of Angel Witch’s debut but that was not it. Turned out to be a different painting by same artist. But I swear this one, “Pandaemonium”, has some relation to Angel Witch, too. Like maybe it was inside the album or back cover or something? But all I have at this point is an old Roadracer CD reissue with completely different artwork.

    • kmal666

      the first thing i thought of when I saw this was Decapitated’s Winds of Creation.

    • tito

      I also thought it was familiar. Sacrilege (UK) have used the same painting on their album “Six6Six”.

  • tetters

    “he throws up a complete hungry man breakfast special with extra yoke and mayo.”

    I’ve never commented on any reviews before. But this line had me howling with laughter.

  • Brian

    I really want to like this band more than I do for the true metal points on offer. However, their sound is very, very limited. Just buy the ‘Stormbringer’ EP and that’s pretty much all the Desaster you need. You’ve got everything they can do right there.

  • I can’t stop listening to “Damnatio Ad Bestias” that was available on Google Play! This is going to be one of the good albums of the year. I suggest you check Stillborn’s latest. Very similar but extremely good.

  • Mikuláš Rolný

    I just dont get why almost all of your reviews are basically just comparing to the other bands. There is no value on that and no point.

    • I do it to provide a frame of reference for what the music sounds like. That’s what I want from a music review so that is what I offer. If it doesn’t provide value for you specifically, not much I can do.