A pretty awesome outfit from Germany, Desaster tread the line between thrash and black metal that other bands like The Haunted have trodden before (sometimes less successfully). There are moments on 666 – SATAN’S SOLDIERS SYNDICATE that you’ll find yourself thinking of Destruction for no apparent reason, and a second or two later, you’ll find yourself ruminating inexplicably about Emperor. The sparse production and about 40% of the riffs will remind of you of third wave BM bands, and at a stretch the vocals will give you that impression as well. However, the stylings, the song structures, and just about everything else reminds you of good old German thrash, especially Sodom and Destruction.
Take a song like “Angel Extermination” for example. About a quarter of the riffs sound like they’ve been lifted from Emperor and even Immortal. But the solo especially brings back good memories of Exodus, as well as the speedy riffing and heavy use of cymbal crashes and high hat. Done with good musicianship and a great vibe, the two genres combine almost perfectly for Desaster. Bringing some of the evil atmosphere and speedy tremolo pick “wall of sound” riffing from the black gods, while mixing it up with the punk-ish bang-your-head energy and Exodus/Slayer lead riffing from thrash, combining it with heavy drumming incorporating both elements and a singer who is a couple of notches down from a shriek, and you have, if not exactly an aural feast, at least food for thought.
Songs like “Forever Fate Flesh” sound purely black metal with the aforementioned Immortal and Dark Throne, even the singer’s normal bark is laced with more gurgling and screaming than normal, and the dissonant wall-of-sound is barely interrupted by the more clearly defined riffs of thrash rhythmwork. Others like “Angel Extermination”, “Vile We Dwell” and “Hellbanger” just incite you to pound your head and punch the air; it would definitely start pits at live shows and inspire some ridiculous air guitar performances when the solo comes around. Honourable mention must go to “Tyrannizer” which has a brief semi-operatic (i.e. not dirty) part, reminiscent of some of Vortex’s vocal lines in Dimmu Borgir.
It’s a funny band in the sense that Desaster manage to play both styles well, but from this album I don’t get the impression that they meld them together at all. Thus, you will hear 666 – SSS alternating between thrash and black from song to song, not within the songs themselves. Only the singer remains the true bridge between the two. But do yourself a favour and pick this album up anyway. It’s well done, well produced with some great music featuring the best of both genres, and with guest appearances from Proscriptor (Absu), A.A. Nemtheanga (Primordial) and Ashmedi (Melechesh), what’s not to like?
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