Review of Desaster - "Churches Without Saints"

Germany’s undisputed blackened thrash kings Desaster have released a stunning string of LPs dating all the way back to their 1996 Merciless Records debut, A Touch of Medieval Darkness.

Twenty years and six full-length albums later, these tried-and-true German metallers released what can only be described as “a perfect metal album” in 2016’s The Oath of an Iron Ritual; and although topping perfection is virtually impossible, that didn’t stop Desaster from releasing their eighth studio album, Churches Without Saints, this past Friday via Metal Blade Records.

Again, with perfection being impossible to top, Churches Without Saints naturally represents a slight regression for these long-standing veterans. However, Desaster are still some of the nastiest purveyors of the blackened thrash craft that the world has ever known, and even when not at their absolute best, they can still lay down an LP chock full of killer music that puts most others to shame.

Consequently, Churches Without Saints is another eleven tracks worth of insanely addictive blackened thrash that’s been served up hot and filthy courtesy of Desaster. Some of most noteworthy cuts include the supercharged freneticism of “Failing Trinity” and “Hellputa”, the dynamic duality of offerings like “Exile is Imminent” and the closer “Endless Awakening”, and of course, the track that seems closest in structure and feel to Iron Ritual-era material (and Hated One’s favorite), “Primordial Obscurity”.

Ironically, the only track that doesn’t seem to do Churches Without Saints any favors is the slow, humdrum title-track, “Churches Without Saints”. Plopped right into the meat of the album, this long, yawn-inducing cut was probably intended to serve as a balm or an antidote to the otherwise breakneck pace set by the rest of the album... but all it really does is break up the album into two solid-as-steel halves that are set apart by an altogether skippable snoozer.

Still, all in all, Desaster’s Churches Without Saints is yet another laudable LP in a long, long line of praiseworthy releases dating all the back to before the turn of the century; and judging by the precedent of songcraft and quality that this release has set, the rest of the blackened thrash world still has light years to go before it catches up to Germany’s Desaster. ‘Nuff said. Ω

To listen to the entirety of Churches Without Saints courtesy of Desaster and Metal Blade Records, simply press play below, and if you are as hooked to the sound of these German beasts as Hated One has been for years, follow the links provided at the bottom to support the band further! \m/

Rating: 97 / 100 (A+)

Release Date: June 4th, 2021 (Metal Blade Records)

Genre: Blackened Thrash

FFO: Venom, Deströyer 666, Nifelheim, Bewitcher, Frosthelm, Demiser, Black Pestilence, The Day of the Beast

Desaster Links: Homepage, Facebook, Instagram, Metal Blade Records Webstore


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