Released: 2016, Steamhammer
I will usually approach new albums by bands that have reunited after many, many years with a bit of trepidation. There have been situations where a second or third tier act from the 80’s reunites 15 or even 20 years later. The motive for reuniting is unimportant to me, money or music, it doesn’t matter, as long as they make a recent product. For example, Warrant (Ger) reunited after almost 30 years. Malice reunited after about 22 years. Obsession reunited after almost 20 years. There are many examples. Where my trepidation lies is that I don’t want to get my hopes up that the reunion of a band I once loved, will be long lived. There are not many examples where a band breaks up in the 80’s reunites years later, and continues on for a long time. What is all this commentary leading up too?
Well, I was very pleased when Assassin released their new album THE CLUB when they reunited in 2005 for after a 18-year break. It is a shame that it was such a weak album. Then we waited and waited and I thought to myself, ‘They are probably done again, THE CLUB was just a one-time thing that probably didn’t sell and so they quit forever.” Then suddenly BREAKING THE SILENCE arrives after a six year wait and I’m glad I was wrong because it was a massive return to form. Then again, we wait another five years and COMBAT CATHEDRAL has arrived. I wish the band would quit toying with my emotions like that!
COMBAT CATHEDRAL picks up right where BREAKING THE SILENCE left off, namely classic, ripping, golden age Germanic thrash Metal! The band is still on Steamhammer, the old logo is intact, and we get another nice bloody, thrash album cover. There is one huge change however. Original vocalist, Robert Gonnella is out and has been replaced by the relatively unknown Ingo Bajonczak. His voice is a little bit rougher but a superb, guttural thrash voice as he roars his way through all 12 tracks with authority. My only point is that he was mixed a bit farther back in the mix, I like my vocalists loud and up front. The whole album is fast, maintaining a pretty relentless pace from front to back. Assassin is so German, there is no reason why they could not have been shoulder to shoulder with The Big Four (Tankard, Sodom, Destruction, Kreator) they were in the right spot at the right time and a fan of any of those bands should (in theory) enjoy what Assassin has to offer in 2016.
A keen-eared fan might suggest that COMBAT CATHEDRAL is a touch heavier, and darker than the last album, but that is never a complaint. I am so glad these guys are still going, but the five to six year breaks between albums are a bit too much! However, I’ll take any new Assassin album no matter how long it takes, any day, any time.