Desaster – “The Oath Of An Iron Ritual” (Metal Blade Records)
Taken from the Destruction song ‘Total Desaster’, the band’s name should give a pretty good idea who these guys are influenced by, along with the likes of Motorhead, Venom, Kreator and Hellhammer. Formed in 1988, Desaster are a big name in Germany given they have been active throughout that time, delivering old school black / thrash with a violent vengeance! Now onto their 8th full length album, with a splurge of EPs, live albums, splits and even live videos, one might question how the same-o style can still be working after 28 years – well, it does! What the uninitiated fail to appreciate are the legions of fans who like their metal just the way it is: untampered, unmodernised and uncompromised pretty much as the band are themselves. That’s not saying these fans aren’t demanding or discerning – quite the opposite – and it is certainly a challenge for some musicians, who do indeed want to move forward, but only find a craving for their past! However, for bands like Desaster, who very much are fans themselves of what they produce, the key is not only to retain their identifying sound, but to refine it time and again with only subtle changes here n there, ever increasing the quality of their musicianship and ultimately their music. “The Oath Of An Iron Ritual” pretty much sums up that ethos, right from its massive, raging sound production to the apocalyptic cover art. With an aural blitzkrieg of Sataniac’s roaring vocals, complete with vomiting and spat pieces, Desaster continues what was done in those early days in fine style across the 10 rampaging tracks here. Inferno, sole founder member from that time, tortures his guitar as per tradition, squeezing tremolo wails through its dirty, frenziedly churned riffola while also chucking in plenty of evil melodies. Usually the bass is part of the mix but thanks to Cronos it became a fearsome four string beast and Odin carries this forward with his ‘Roaring Four String Battle- Axe’, rumbling and reverberating clearly in the mix and all over the material. As for the drums – well, when was the last time you heard liberal drum rolls and chimes?! Tormentor’s savage but versatile drumming of all his kit and awesome snapping kick pedals had me headbanging as the band laid waste to songs like ‘Damnatio Ad Bestias‘, ‘Conquer & Contaminate‘ and ‘End of Tyranny‘. More than the composing, more than the production, and even more than the musicianship, Desaster are all about an attitude that is still true in their music as it is in their lifelong fans.