Desaster has been around forever, perpetually rocking their slobbering, Neanderthal variety of berserk, blackened thrash. Their sound is defined by an unswerving dedication to excessive over-the-top-itude that few bands could rival. By taking the classic Darkthrone sound and welding it together with Motorhead, old Destruction, Autopsy and Slayer, a squirming mass of belligerent bellicosity is unleashed. Frantic riffing, blast beats, wildly insane, overdone vocals that have to be heard to be believed, Desaster sounds like a big, explody…disaster. Album number seven, The Arts of Destruction, may be their most hyper-kinetic journey into looney tunes territory yet, and let me tell ya, it’s a whole lot of fucking fun to experience. That is, if you’re willing to leave your brain and prog appreciation at the door and wallow in the filth. I know I am!
After an intro of swords clanging and battles raging, the title track rips out like Darkthrone‘s Transilvanian Hunger, with vocals that sound like one of the infected from the “28 Days” films. You can’t go wrong with hyper-frenetic trem riffs, blast beats, and vocalist Sataniac pronouncing “The Arts of Destruction” as “DEEyarddd youv destrucSHUN!!” Toss in random bouts of maniacal laughter and it’s simply too fascinating to turn off. “Lacerate With Hands of Doom” (awesome title) is rife with cool riffs and loads of weird grunts, chirps and screams. “Splendour of the Idols” has a very “Raining Blood” riffing approach and sounds great, and “Queens of Sodomy” channels Motorhead at their most beer-soaked and sloppy. The biggest surprise is “Possessed and Defiled,” with it’s long build up of melodic riffing and flashes of Mercyful Fate influences. At almost nine minutes, it remains interesting and actually somewhat “reserved.”
Considering how unhinged and raucous this stuff is, fret-man Infernal demonstrates some real chops and turns “The Arts of Destruction” into a blackened thrash How-To seminar. Every song has memorable, engaging riffs and some really stand out (I love the riffs throughout “Phantom Funeral” and “Possessed and Defiled”). Sataniac’s hysterical, possessed-by-demons vocals are mostly unintelligible, but I admire his committment to being totally out of control. When I can understand what he’s actually saying, I enjoy how he pronounces every word in “metal speak” by placing the emPHAsis on all the wrong sylLABles. It’s very easy to imagine the guy hopping around a padded room wearing a straightjacket as he delivers his lines. In fact, throughout the entire album, Desaster feels like they’re collectively poised to fly off the rails and lose control of what they’re doing. There hasn’t been a thrash album running this gleefully amok since Inferno‘s obscure classic, Utter Hell (which, you need to hear if you’re a fan of thrash).
The biggest knock against these guys is the lack of originality, and I suppose that’s fair. They aren’t really bringing anything new to the metalverse, just showcasing a lunatic hybrid of black metal and thrash. However, they bring so much knuckle-dragging, manic enthusiasm to the job, they overcome any failure to innovate. In fact, one of the things that makes Desaster so enjoyable, is their committment to being so uniquely one-dimensional.
These guys aren’t the most technical musicians out there, or the tightest, but man, this stuff is insanely amusing and as metal as Odin sponsoring a Manowar concert in Hell. Soupy, sloppy, overwrought, unintelligent black thrash. What else can a metalhead want? Give this a listen and prepare to be blathered on (now, with extra foam!!!)