DESASTER. A name well known to any metalhead worth their salt. Arguably one of the first bands to mix the newly emerged Black metal sound with Thrashier elements in the mid-90s and still among the best at doing so today. The bands unique sounding take on this combination has seen them tour worldwide and spend over a decade signed to Metal Blade without losing the quality which made them so beloved. Four years on from their masterpiece The Arts of Destruction, how will the eagerly awaited The Oath of an Iron Ritual hold up to the Teutonic Tyrants high standards?
The album begins with Intro (The Oath) with screams and the clunk of metal setting the scene for what is about to unfold. The album truly begins when Proclaimed in Shadows arrives led by a riff standing alone, a DESASTER staple. The track descends into a Thrashy number as vocalist Sataniac lets out his first trademark snarl of the album. Slowing slightly in the latter half of the opener to allow a guitar solo to close, the album is already showing that fan will not be disappointed.
End of Tyranny blasts in as drummer Tormentor hammers away to announce its arrival before refusing to let up for its entire duration. With a pounding rhythm and solid riff this is a track guaranteed to move your neck. The Cleric’s Arcanum on the other hands begins to the tolling of a church bell before it’s drowned out by DESASTER’s unique brand of riffs, blastbeats and snarls. A short track by their standards it wastes no time with a galloping riff leading into a short solo before the whole effort ends, again to the tolling of the church bell.
On the other end of the spectrum Haunting Siren is a long track and brings to mind the title track off the turn of the centuries Tyrants of the Netherworld. The build down to almost spoken word passages before blasting back in that has featured on previous records is also present here. A slower middle of the track is by no means less powerful and works well within the setting of the song. Damnatio Ad Bestias has been heavily publicised in the promotion for this album and it’s easy to see why. Containing all of the elements fans expect from DESASTER and a truly well executed effort at that. Built around a powerful riff the track is sure to feature in setlists for a long time to come.
Conquer & Contaminate opens to machine gun fire and distortion, which somewhat dispenses the medieval atmosphere of earlier tracks. Blast through the first section of the track before slowing for the middle with a militaristic drumbeat and spoken lyrics before resuming the frantic pace. An abrupt stop allows the bass a moment, with long standing member Odin given a rare time in the spotlight. The Denial again begins slowly, giving a true sense of something building to the early part of the track. What follows is a mid-pace track which whines back down to nothing in the later part. Not bad, but the weakest track on offer here.
Title track of the album The Oath of an Iron Ritual is another short track by DESASTER’s standards. Containing one of the catchiest riff of the album the track wastes not a moment of its runtime racing along in a manner sure to set heads banging and fists pumping. Both the drums and bass play a significant part in this display of skill which is what makes the band so well regarded. Closing track At the Eclipse of Blades is another in the more classic style of the band and features guitarist Infernal’s trademark style of riff. Another long track allows time for the quieter medieval inspired sections that haven’t featured as much as on previous albums to be brought to the fore here. This final track ensures the band finish the album strongly.
DESASTER have put another powerful performance out here. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and it damn well doesn’t have too with the German’s particular brand of Black/Thrash being some of the best out there. Packed will killer riffs, unique lyrics and all round good performances by all members The Oath of an Iron Ritual is another great addition to DESASTER’s existing legacy. Bang or be banged!
The Oath Of An Iron Ritual is set for release on April 8th via Metal Blade Records.
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