Desaster – Churches Without Saints Review

It’s been 4 long years since we got a Desaster album, and the world has certainly gone to Hell in a deathbasket without them. Though it does seem highly on brand for these sleazy creepers to release their ninth platter o’ splatter at the tail end of a global pandemic, so here comes Churches Without Saints, ready or not. For those of you not in the know, Desaster play an unhinged, unpolished style of blackened thrash with loads of classic metal influences crammed into every available nook, cranny and orifice. They’ve never cared about what’s trendy or popular, relentlessly pounding away with their caveman blackthrash style one decade after another like the remorseless war grinders they are. Nothing at all has changed on Churches Without Saints. Same raucous, filthy sound, same overly caffeinated, loony-tunes approach. I salute them for all these things.

After a throwaway intro, the classic Desaster sounds smacks you upside the head with a sack full of rusty nails and door knobs on “Learn to Love the Void.” It has all the grace of a 2-ton anvil coated with goose shit, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That classic sound that owes so much to Destruction‘s Sentence of Death and Sodom‘s In the Sign of Evil is still front and center, powered by the ear-grabbing riffing of Infernal and complemented superbly by the 120% over-the-top voKILLS of Satanic. He’s one of, if not the most immoderate metal vocalists, running through a nearly bottomless toolbox of screams, roars, barks and gurgles in his efforts to drench every song with power, Satan, and last night’s beer and brats. He does his usual magic here and this is a classic Desaster cut from start to finish. It makes me happy, angry, and proud to be a metalhead all at once. This same hyperactive style prevails across cuts like “Failing Trinity” and “Exile is Imminent,” with the title track offering a big tempo shift, adopting a more droning, hypnotic doom crush, almost like something Raventale would do, and it works.

Other standout moments include the unrelenting thrash assault of “Hellputa” where the kick drums sound like a washing machine loaded with work boots and brass knuckles. If this song doesn’t make you want to whack someone with a lead pipe, there’s simply no place for you at the Pipe Whackers Lodge and Burrito Emporium. “Primordial Obscurity” is a vintage slice of Desaster pie, full of speed, aggression, testosterone, and loaded with 80s metal influences that sit uneasily alongside the unstable black and thrash antics. As much fun as some of the material is here, there are a few issues. Some cuts while entertaining, feel recycled from prior albums, and these don’t inspire the same level of berserk brain fever I expect from my Desaster listening time. I’m also not a huge fan of how the album ends. Outro piece “Aus Asche” is a weird blend of Rammstein and 80s new wave pop, which, needless to say, is a marked divergence from the kneecapping metal frolics encountered everywhere else on the album. That said, every Desaster album is a fun, endearing ride through the heart of metal excess, and they’ve always walked the line between seriousness and genre parody with unerring skill. That hasn’t changed here, and I get what I came for and a little bit more.

I’ve sang the praises of Infernal and Satanic in past reviews and you can cut and paste every adjective right here. I’m a big fan of Satanic’s uncompromising vocal approach and want him to MC every event I ever attend from here to the end of time and space. He’s a complete maniac and makes every song feel like the soundtrack to your asylum escape. Infernal is equally brilliant, churning out endless waves of thrash, speed, black, and classic metal leads. He’s long been one of the best guitarists when it comes to capturing and holding my notoriously fickle attention, and though some of the songwriting is a bit too familiar here, his style enthralls nonetheless.

Churches Without Saints is another high energy, high yield dose of metallic overkill from the most overkilly bastards out there. If you’re a fan already, you’ll be happy. If you just stumbled into Desaster unintentionally after a Dave Matthews Band┬ábinge, it was nice knowing you. Get this when you want to experience your very own metal-themed Desaster.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Websites: total-desaster.com | desaster.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/666desaster666
Releases Worldwide: June 4th, 2021

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