With new album The Arts of Destruction, German metalers Desaster show they have not lost any of their spiteful aggression or formidable intensity over the last twenty plus years since forming in 1988. In fact as their release shows they have simply increased all levels and their creativity over recent years unleashing an album that gives the senses a real working over whilst treating them to well crafted melodic intrusions. The Arts of Destruction does not exactly stir up an undying exaltation for its thrash fuelled venomous sounds veined with black metal darkness and malevolence but it certainly leaves most similar coated bands fighting to share their shadow.
Through six previous albums, 2 live releases, and various compilations, splits and EP’s Desaster has increased an ardent following that started almost from their start and certainly after debut album A Touch Of Medieval Darkness in 1996. Despite a tumultuous time line-up wise at the beginning, the band strode on racking up great responses release by release and through their tremendous live performances impressing with an ever potent array of tours, gigs and festival spots. Desaster bring forth sounds with a distinct old school heart leaving innovation to others but their music has a satisfying variety and density to it that makes listening to them a pleasure at any time.
From the opening title track The Arts of Destruction announces itself as a collection of songs that are uncomplicated but pierced and punctuated with a forceful intent combined with incisive melodies and grooves. To be honest the album took time to grow on the senses, the initial play simply enjoyable but subsequent visits unveiled a richer creativity within the compositions which at first hid behind the power. The first song is a solid and formidable track opening on the back of an intro offering sounds of battle or a loud and lively dining room, the sound of steel upon steel leading into an incessant pummelling of the ear by The Arts of Destruction. Tormentor and Odin on drums and bass respectively grab the head forcing their might through the ear whilst the guitar of Infernal scythes with sharp riffs and sinister melodies intent on harm. As with the music the vocals of Sataniac took a time to connect to, his coarse bile spitting screeches and growls caustic. After a few plays though it is hard to imagine anyone offering the same intensity and extreme effect to Desaster.
Whereas the opener is a relatively straight to the core attack, other songs offer a varied and at times thrilling mix. The likes of Lacerate (with Rans of Doom) with a rampaging grind that refuses to relinquish its grip once it takes hold, Phantom Funeral which is unpredictable with a groove that winds around the ear to almost mesmeric effect as the rhythms twitch and twist with intimidation, and the mighty Troops of Heathens, Graves of Saints hold no mercy for their willing victim but still treat him with some crucial metal. The latter of these three rumbles and rolls between all out consumption of the senses and a less intense aggression, the transition seamless and satisfying. Desaster forge their sound on a thrash driveshaft as mentioned but are not afraid to mix it up pace and attack wise, using acute melodies and acidic grooves to captivate and overcome the senses.
As the album progresses it gets better and better, the final two songs of Possessed And Defiled and Beyond Your Grave revealed as the best on the album. The first has a warm yet cutting guitar which whips around the ear as the rhythms stomp across to accompany it. There is a slight folk metal vibe to its militant enforcement that is wonderful and this is the one song that really revs up the pulse rate. The closer, apart from a great melodic outro, is a steel toe capped kick to the groin, rampaging and malicious it is an example of how metal should always be, forceful, vibrant, and without shame.
The Arts of Destruction is a satisfying formidable slab of metal that even without Desaster wanting to venture outside their own slightly expected sound is impressive, fresh sounding and a should listen to release.
The Arts of Destruction is available via Metal Blade Records by the end of February wherever you are.