Desaster – The Oath of an Iron Ritual (Metal Blade)

Genre: Thrash/Black Metal

Desaster may not have the legendary status of fellow German acts Kreator, Destruction or Sodom, but after 27 years in the game they are a reliable old warhorse of a band, well versed in unleashing hell. So as you’d expect, The Oath of an Iron Ritual comes at you like a flailing bullet belt, hitting hard and fast.

Everything’s here – the steely blackened thrash riffs, Sataniac’s caustic, unearthly vocals, Tormentor’s quickfire drumming – and at its best, Desaster’s eighth full length is a blood ‘n’ guts sonic assault.  The Cleric’s Arcanum, for instance, is short and (very) sweet, a speed metal adrenaline rush that leaves you reeling and desperate for more, while the pulsating title track is similarly energetic.

However, those moments don’t come often enough; The Oath of an Iron Ritual, for all its bluster, fails to ignite in places and songs such as The Haunting Siren and The Denial are almost too clever for their own good. Plus, throughout much of the album, there’s a lack of the kind of jaw dropping hooks which make blackened thrash so exciting.

Long-time fans won’t be disappointed with this, but Desaster need to sharpen up their songwriting to attract more acolytes.