Thursday, 23 February 2012

[ALBUM REVIEW] Desaster - The Arts of Destruction

Genre - Black/Thrash Metal
1. Intro
2. The Arts of Destruction
3. Lacerate with Hands of Doom
4. Splendour of the Idols
5. Phantom Funeral
6. Queens of Sodomy
7. At Hell's Horizon
8. Troops of Heathens – Graves of Saint
9. Possessed and Defiled
10. Beyond Your Grace
11. Outro

So German Black/Thrash titans Desaster finally return with the long awaited follow up to 2007’s “Satan’s Soldiers Syndicate”, which was a glorious return to form after the uneven “Anglewhore”. I had extremely high aspirations for this release, as the previous was so blindingly brilliant I was hesitant they’d have lost that spark somewhere along the road. All apprehensions were soon put to the sword though as soon as the last track ended; winding my jaw up off the floor after being thoroughly drained of all thought due to the sheer overwhelming power that is “The Arts of Destruction”, they haven’t just followed “Satan’s Soldiers Syndicate” up with an equal album, they’ve arguably created what is their most accomplished and awe inspiring release yet. “The Arts of Destruction” is a totem of the Black/Thrash genre, a glimpse at what so many other bands can only dream of achieving.

For a band who have been around for as long as these veterans to constantly keep releasing quality albums and hit such a high at this period in their career is nothing short of remarkable. Only a handful of bands contain that fire which puts them on another level altogether from the rest, DESASTER along with the comparably awesome DESTROYER 666 have both now effectively come close to perfecting this genre. “The Arts of Destruction” is wall to wall venom, with vocals which appear dredged from the abyss of hell itself and a guitar tone and drumming which will grind your bones to dust, and it’s hard to see how this can be bettered.

So anyway, enough with the gushing praise, straight from the eponymous title track right through to ‘Beyond Your Grace”, the album is a sweeping behemoth of riffing that will get every static head in the room banging. Infernal’s guitar tone is and always has been the back-bone to Desaster, the huge crushing riffs and ripping solo’s have been a mainstay since their inception and is none more evident than here. Choice cuts would either be the DESTRUCTION-esque main riff during “Phantom Funeral” and the unequivocally epic “Teutonic Steel”-esque lead work in “Possessed and Defiled”. Sataniac’s vocals are just as impressive, stronger than ever and that underlying Cavalera like sneer still present. The vocals slash and tear through the everything like a feral dog, ranging from an almost Death like guttural to higher pitched Black screams delivered in such a way it sounds as if he’s delivering a hate filled sermon rather than a mere Black metal song. The drumming is similarly impressive, fast paced and earth shakingly intense yet always thoroughly varied hammering the riffs straight into your neck.

The production present here is magnificent, a flawless mix and clarity which does its best to complement every single riff and every single vocal line without ever sounding ‘modern’. A special shout must go to the duo of “At Hell’s Horizon” and “Possessed and Defiled”, the former being a four minute hellstorm of blasphemy with a central section violent enough to turn even the most reserved metal head into a fist clenching swagger, the latter an eight minute epic along the lines of “Teutonic Steel” and “Conqueror Supremacy” with the pace take down a notch or two and a grandeur of evil like that from early BATHORY. It’s songs like the aforementioned and “Metalized Blood” etc that are why Desaster are held in such high regard, their ability to write such enthralling Black/Thrash is matched at the minute only by that of DESTROYER 666.

All the usual influences are present, from early SEPULTURA to BATHORY to the Teutonic German scene of the 80’s, and even a bit of hard-core punk the form of “Queens of Sodomy”, so in the chance that you haven’t heard DESASTER before and your music taste is somewhat along those lines then “The Arts of Destruction” will be right up your alley and is as good a place to start as any with them. If there was ever any doubt as to their position, then this album has completely blown them off the map, because “The Arts of Destruction” is one of the finest militant Blackened Thrash releases yet. Every so often an album will come along and completely floor me and reaffirm just why exactly I listen to metal in the first place, why I persevere through all the shit and one which keeps blowing me away every single time I listen to it, and for an album to do that to me is rare. A rare full marks from me.


Orignally written for The Metal Observer

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