Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Desaster - The Oath of an Iron Ritual
Metal Blade Records, 2016
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Intro (The Oath)
2. Proclamation in Shadows
3. End of Tyranny
4. The Cleric's Arcanum
5. Haunting Siren
6. Damnatio ad Bestias
7. Conquer and Contaminated
8. The Denial
9. The Oath of an Iron Ritual
10. At the Eclipse of Blades

When I saw Desaster announce this album I was immediately excited for it, which is pretty much the norm for me concerning new material from one of my favorite bands. This was different though, looking at such an visually arresting cover I felt that something big had to be going on. After hearing "Feasting on the Heavens" I was interested in hearing what they had in store for a full album and I have to say "The Oath of an Iron Ritual" is by far one of their best.

While the past few albums have been enjoyable, they never quite sat on par with their early material for me. Well, that all changes now. "The Oath of an Iron Ritual" is probably their best album since "Tyrants of the Netherworld" for me. While I don't believe they'll ever top "Tyrants" in my book, this album is extremely close to nailing that feeling! This has everything I've ever wanted and loved from Desaster. We have the heavy and intense Thrash sections blended seamlessly with Black Metal atmosphere and a healthy does of those medieval sections I love so much. It gives this ancient, almost mythological atmosphere amidst the pummeling Metal passages and I simply love every moment on this album. It's so well thought out and carefully crafted that this will be a difficult album for Desaster to top. They've managed to expertly marry catchiness and atmosphere in one single album, which is what they've been known for in the early days. Just listen to how the chorus of "Conquer and Contaminated" catches you as you listen!

In the end, if you've thought the prior albums of Desaster were a bit lackluster compared to the old days, then I highly encourage you to rethink trying this album out. This is an album not to be missed under any circumstances! Now for the next few years I'm going to wonder how in the world Desaster will ever top this... or are we in store for a string of masterpieces? I'm hoping for another string of absolute masterpieces...

Desaster & Soulburn - Imperial Anthems No. 17
Cyclone Empire, 2015
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Feasting on the Heavens
2. The Last Monument of God

Side Soulburn: ...coming eventually...
Side Desaster:

While we all eagerly await the next installment of Desaster they return to doing a split that features one new song from them. It was recorded by the band in their own studio and everything actually sounds very good. This is pressed on 7" lilac vinyl and limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I own #212. It also comes with a lyric sheet insert.

"Feasting on the Heaven" opens with one of the more Black Metal riffs ever done by Desaster and swiftly goes into a more medieval Thrash section for the main part of the song, so you can guess I'm already in love with this song. It's certainly one of the finest and I'm really glad they put this to wax. The one thing that kind of puts off the atmosphere a bit is that they don't keep the energy up for the whole song, but it eventually begins to slow down quite a bit and rather plods along to the point where I begin to long for that opening energy again. However, I will say it does a good job of transitioning into the Soulburn track because it is a good deal slower than Desaster normally play. Luckily they do bring back the early riffs and the end the song on a high note, which is just perfect for me.

Desaster - The Arts of Destruction
Metal Blade Records, 2012
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Intro
2. The Art of Destruction
3. Lacerate (With Rays of Doom)
4. The Splendour of the Idols
5. Phantom Funeral
6. Queens of Sodomy
7. At Hell's Horizons
8. Troops of Heathens, Graves of Saints
9. Possessed and Defiled
10. Beyond Your Grace
11. Outro

Desaster's current system of waiting to put out a full-length is really paying off. The last album they released was pretty good and "The Arts of Destruction" is even better! I feel like I never gave this album the time of day when it was released. I think I did that with a lot of albums released around this time frame and I'm glad I'm delving into these back catalogs to give everything a proper listen!

"The Arts of Destruction" give us an excellent blend of catchy Thrash with a healthy infusion of that medieval sound we've been missing in a lot of Desaster albums as of late. I feel like they've been focusing a lot more heavily on the Thrash and "The Arts of Destruction" is weighted more heavily in that direction, but the title track and "Possessed and Defiled" are great reminders of what Desaster wrote more often in their earlier days. It's refreshing to hear this element show up from time to time, because a straight Thrash album, for some reason, can feel a bit too much of the same. That's one of the reasons Desaster always stood out from the rest in my opinion,  they always added this something extra to their atmosphere instead of just constantly galloping guitars! Either way, I think the band is getting back into their stride and working as a far more cohesive unit to write in the way that I've always loved to hear this band. They probably had quite a bit of aggression to get out originally, but now we are back to that high quality blend for this album and I hope they continue on into the next album like this.

If you glossed over "The Arts of Destruction" like I did originally, then I highly recommend you revisit this release. It has some really killer material on it and it's strongly reminiscent of their days of old. One things for sure, the long wait between albums is really paying off for them and I won't expect the next full length for a few more years at this point, but I'm looking forward to whatever is coming next!

Desaster & Sabbat - Anniversarius
Iron Pegasus Records, 2009
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Darkness and Evil (Sabbat cover)
2. Porter of Hellgate (Desaster cover)

Side Sabbat: ...coming eventually...
Side Desaster:

This is a neat little 7" split with two long running Black/Thrash bands celebrating anniversaries. The packaging is really nice and it comes housed in a gatefold 7" package. I'm sure it's limited to some number, but there is no limitation listed anywhere. This is the 20th for Desaster and 25th for Sabbat. The way this split works is each band covers a song from the other. There's no new material on here, so it's a little disappointing in that regard, but Desaster did just put out four new songs on the last box set released in the same year. I don't know Sabbat's discography very well, though I've heard the band before. Desaster make their material sound so much heavier compared to what I remember them actually sounding like. I'm sure they did an exceptional job on the song and did the original justice in some way, while making it in their own fashion as well.

Desaster - 20 Years of Total Desaster
Kneel Before the Master's Throne Records, 2009
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

Disc 1: Fog of Avalon
1. Twilight (Intro)
2. The Final Desaster
3. And the Powers Above
4. Face of Darkness
5. Into a Magical Night
6. Northern Breeze
7. Witchcraft
8. Dawn (Outro)
9. Countess Bathory (Venom cover) Live
10. Porter of Hellgate Live
11. Morbid Tales (Celtic Frost cover) Live

Disc 2: Lost in Ages
1. Hymn to Forgotten Lands
2. In a Winter Battle
3. Tears of an Old Wizard
4. Lost in the Ages
5. As the Deadworld Calls
6. Leaving the Hall of Kings
7. Hate and Violence
8. God is Dead

Disc 3:
1. Infernal Voices
2. Souls of Infernity
3. Hell-Born
4. Medi-Evil Rites
5. Vengeance Knows No Bound
6. Decade of Desaster-The Witches' Rune
7. Ride on for Revenge
8. Burning Crosses
9. The Hill of a Thousand Souls

Disc 4:
1. Tormentor
2. Infernal
3. Odin
4. Sataniac

This Desaster box set celebrating the 20 year anniversary is, honestly, one of the coolest items I have in my entire collection. I have the Die-Hard edition of this box set which, in addition to the 4 LP's, has a t-shirt, patch, 4 posters, and an old magazine with interviews with the band members. There's also the main "booklet" which is LP sized and recounts the history of the band going all the way back to the early inception in 1988! It's really wonderful to go through this collection of stories that connect the present incarnation of the band all the way to the past. While I own most of the original material as it was being released, it was fun to go through and relive this immense journey. The magazine is a limited issue of Domain focusing on only Desaster and is limited to 300 copies, and I own #27.

This is an interesting 20 year anniversary box set as far as anniversary releases go. The first two LP's are a re-release of the first two demo tapes. They've also included a couple extras on here as well, for those of us who have the original tapes. In addition to the extra tracks, it was just plain cool to hear the demos cut to wax. The third LP is a real gem because it collects all the rarities and singles. While I have a lot of this odd releases, they're not easy to get over in the U.S. so I was never able to complete my collection... maybe someday in the used market. For now I have the songs on this vinyl and I really appreciate the release in that regard. It even includes the exclusive tracks released on the 10 year anniversary, so if you missed out on that you have another chance to get into them here! This part of the release really showcases Okkulto's vocal prowess and range and I've really missed it quite a bit and didn't realize how much as I was going through these newer albums. Don't get me wrong Sataniac fits very well on the new Desaster material, but I am very nostalgic for the older material because I grew up listening to a lot of it. The fourth disc is all new material! I honestly love that Desaster tries to make this a habit on their anniversary or "best of" styled releases. It really makes me feel like I'm putting my money towards something more unique. I think a lot of bands could learn from Desaster in this regard, I usually don't buy this products from other bands, but Desaster always makes me feel like its worth it. They're a band that has always gone the extra mile in this regard! The new songs are pretty good and are actually named after each member of the band. I think each song showcases each member and what they're really into, such as who brings the Thrash, who brings the medieval style, etc.

There's actually a lot of reading to do with this box set as well, so prepared to spend quite some time listening to old Desaster songs and reading about the bands history. The standard LP sized booklet comes with a great history of the band told by various members of the years. This is a bit of ancient history about the band starting and some recollections of touring memories with some stories of recording the albums. It's a rather quick read and gives a brief overview of 20 years of hard work. For those who want to delve even deeper, we need to turn to the Domain magazine. This has interviews with all kinds of members of the bands both past and present. They even went out and tracked down old members and interviewed them. Sadly there is no modern interview with Okkulto, so they dug up an old interview from quite a while ago. I was curious to hear what Okkulto would say, but M. Syaiful puts the question to Tormentor and we garner a little bit of insight. He doesn't go into too much detail, but it seems like at first the break-up didn't go very well. However, things seem to be going better and the parties involved are at least hanging out again. (Fast forward: I also know Okkulta took the stage with Desaster a few years after this in another anniversary type of show to celebrate the project. So, it seems things have gone very well. Maybe one day we'll be treated to guest vocal performance on a new Desaster album... hey, I can dream right?) Either way the magazine is cool to read through and get some deeper background of the band.

This is quite the celebration box set and if you are a die-hard Desaster fan, then you simply need the die-hard edition! It was really fun to go back into the history of the band and remember a lot of fond releases, even though I am so far away and the band will probably never come to my country... most bands don't. Anyway, I really appreciate this release and I greatly appreciate the fact that Desaster make their fans feel worth it, even those who are far away.

Desaster - 666-Satan's Soldiers Syndicate
Metal Blade Records, 2008
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Intro
2. Satan's Soldiers Syndicate
3. Angel Extermination
4. Razor Ritual
5. Hellbangers
6. Fate Forever Flesh
7. Vile We Dwell
8. Tyrannizer
9. Venomous Stench
10. More Corpses for the Grave

For some reason when this album came out I remember thinking it wasn't that long since "Angelwhore" was released, but apparently I was very busy and three years just flew by for me. I feel like this is one of the more overlooked albums by me, because sitting down to give this a listen I couldn't remember what it sounded like at all. I'm pretty sure I listened to it when it first came out...

Like "Divine Blasphemies" this album is a much more pure Thrash Metal album, which probably made "Angelwhore" stand out all the more to me. While I couldn't really get into "Divine Blasphemies", I will say "Satan's Soldiers Syndicate" is a far superior album. I really wish I had given this album more of a chance, because this really is some excellent and well written Thrash. For some reason I think of a crossover of Slayer meets Destruction when I hear this album. It has that solid dark edge to the material that I like quite a bit in certain Thrash bands. Even though I didn't really get my dose of medieval Black Metal this time around I still found this album really enjoyable. I think most Desaster fans will find it an enjoyable listen as well. I think it's a solid effort in trying to reclaim the lost Thrash album that was "Divine Blasphemies".

So, if you like the Thrashier side of Desaster then this is the album for you! Expect a lot of that solid German Thrash Metal that the country is famous for. These songs hit hard and fast, but have an excellent atmosphere all the while, which I don't find in many Thrash bands. This is why Desaster is my usual "go to" band for this kind of music, because I think they stand above the rest in many ways.

Desaster - Infernal Voices
Iron Pegasus Records, 2006
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Infernal Voices
2. Fields of Triumph
3. Before the Creation of Time (Unleashed cover)

This is the only release I own that is classified as a Maxi-Single. It features only one new song from Desaster. It's pressed on 12" vinyl, but plays at 45 rpms. They actually pressed a thousand copies of this thing with 200 on red vinyl and 800 on black vinyl. I only have the black vinyl edition. There's no numbering or anything like that on this release.

"Infernal Voices" is the only truly new song from Desaster on this release. It's another more pure Thrash Metal styled song and lacks some of the atmosphere that I usually prefer from a Desaster song. This would have fit on the "Divine Blasphemies" recording a lot more. Which is why they probably took the other two from that recording session. The second song is a re-recorded version of "Fields of Triumph" which originally came out on "A Touch of Medieval Darkness". The re-recorded version is actually extremely well done and that album would probably sound absolutely immense if they re-recorded it, however, they'd have to get Okkulto in on it truly make it special. Sataniac does a pretty excellent job vocally as well. For the final track from that recording session they did a pretty unusual cover for a band like Desaster, but I was nonetheless pleased to see it covered because Unleashed is another favorite of mine! "Before the Creation of Time" is an awesome song and Desaster did a really excellent job on it. It sounded pretty different with the Desaster guitar tones and everything, but it also sounded really cool. I like how Desaster sort of made it their own in a lot of ways instead of trying to sound exactly like the original like some bands do.

In the end this is a pretty cool three song single, but again with other items like this, its probably only valuable to collectors that really want to hear everything from the band. I enjoyed this for what it is and the re-recording and cover song make this more worthwhile in my opinion.

Desaster - Angelwhore
Metal Blade Records, 2005
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. The Arrival (Intro)
2. The Blessed Pestilence
3. Angelwhore
4. Conqueror's Supremacy
5. Ghouls to Strike
6. Nihilistic Overture
7. Havoc
8. Downfall be Thy Blade
9. Revelation Genocide
10. Mourning Path (Outro)

Desaster have left their label Iron Pegasus and signed with a major label from the U.S., Metal Blade. It's somewhat surprising its taken Desaster this long to be part of a major label, then again they may have been asked and the deal wasn't good enough, because Desaster is certainly good enough! Anyway, looking through the booklet design and seeing some imagery from the medieval era has given me some hope for this release. One of the strangest things in this booklet, though, is that in the band photo there is only three members... Desaster clearly has four... so maybe someone couldn't make it?

The imagery on the booklet interior indeed was indicative of Desaster's return to form. You'll remember I wasn't too fond of "Divine Blasphemies" and I was afraid the line-up change had devastated the band, but "Angelwhore" quick gets the band back on track. The song writing is where we all expect Desaster to be and its nice to have them strike back with their excellent riffing once again. There's a clear medieval bent as well, especially in songs like "Conqueror's Supremacy" and makes the whole thing reminiscent of their earlier discography. I feel like they've gotten back into form injecting some Black Metal into their sound, because this album feels quite a bit darker. Some songs are still fairly pure on the Thrash end, but it varies up the album a lot more than "Divine Blasphemies". Plus "Ghouls to Strike" is such an awesomely hard hitting song its almost impossible to not love. Now, I'm not sure I would say its as good as an album like 'Tyrants of the Netherworld", or better than some of their other earlier albums, but it's certainly up there. "Angelwhore" is more what I've come to expect from Desaster, so after a lackluster album its nice to see they've still got it.

Even if you were disappointed in "Divine Blasphemies", then don't lose heart, because "Angelwhore" strikes back hard and brings us an album worthy of what we expect from Desaster. It seems like the band is working well together again and once more I'm looking forward to whatever new stuff they come up with in the future.

Desaster - Brazilian Blitzkrieg Blasphemies
Mutilation Records, 2004
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Skyline in Flames (Intro)
2. The Swords Will Never Sink
3. Symphony of Vengeance
4. Profanation
5. Devil's Sword
6. Tyrants of the Netherworld
7. Nighthawk
8. Ghouls to Strike
9. Fields of Triumph
10. Teutonic Steel
11. Hellfire's Dominion
12. Necrolord (Divine Genocide cover)
13. Necropolis Karthago
14. Metalized Blood
15. Witchcraft

Since the release of "Divine Blasphemies" there have been two live albums from Desaster, and I'm not big on live albums, so I only bought one of them. Since the Serbian Hell release was tape only I ended up going after this one. This performance clocks in at over an hour and it doesn't even include all the songs from the performance. One was omitted due to technical difficulties during the song and the other was a Sepultura cover.

As far as soundboard recordings go, this came out pretty good if you ask me. I think it captures a solid live performance from the band. Naturally there's little off parts here and there and some songs are faster than their recorded version, but we expect all that stuff even from professional bands. They really put together a solid set list of old material and new stuff. I think that's a really good thing, because sometimes when you switch a musician around you tend to go heavy on the newer material simply because they know it better. That doesn't seem to be the case here, Sataniac knows all the old stuff just as well as the album he performed on. It's a little strange hearing these songs with only one guitar, but they do quite a good job with it. I guess I'm always a big fan of having two guitarists because I think it really rounds out the sound. One of the cool things about this performance is they play a song from the upcoming album called "Ghouls to Strike" and it's a lot better than the material on "Divine Blasphemies", so I'm looking forward to that a bit more now. On top of that we get to hear the song "Necrolord" which is a song from Sataniac's earlier band Divine Genocide.

If you're really into live albums and a big Desaster fan then I can't imagine you'll be disappointed in this recording, outside of the fact that Okkulto isn't on it... but Sataniac actually does a very good job, so don't let that stop you. Either way, this has a lot of my favorite songs on the performance covering their entire discography so far, so it's a pretty cool performance in that regard.

Desaster - Divine Blasphemies
Iron Pegasus Records, 2002
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Intro
2. Divine Blasphemies
3. Symphony of Vengeance
4. Beasts of Wrath and Victory
5. ...Of Impurity
6. Alliance to the Powerthrone
7. Nighthawk
8. Shadowinds
9. Spare No Coward
10. Chants of Grief (Outro)

After release after amazing release it's with a heavy heart that we see Okkulto leave this project. It's difficult to imagine anyone taking over for such an incredible and iconic voice. For me he really defined that iconic Desaster sound and was one of the major aspects that always made this band stand out alongside their intoxicating riffing. Taking over is Sataniac and to his credit he really tries to keep Desaster's signature sound exactly where it should be. He puts forth a good effort to make the transition Okkulto seem as seamless as possible. However, you can still hear quite the difference vocally, but "Divine Blasphemies" isn't as much of a downhill spiral as I thought it would be vocally.

Despite the fact that Sataniac tries to fill a void as best he can, to me, Desaster didn't put together as good an album musically as they had in the past. Some songs are quite good, but that blend of medieval riffing is mostly gone. Instead Desaster bring forth a more pure Thrash album in the riff department, until we get to songs like "...Of Impurity", which has touches of that signature Desaster sound I love so much. However, I feel like they focused more on creating a fairly standard Thrash Metal album more than a blend of their Black/Thrash that we've all fallen in love with. I think some of this comes from the problem of trying to write a following up to "Tyrants of the Netherworld" one of the finest albums ever recorded in Metal, so any follow-up would probably fall flat. Perhaps Desaster wanted to return to Thrash basics to recharge themselves and bring the new vocalist up to speed. Either way you look at it, it lacks the magic that the prior albums had and feels lackluster in the songwriting department.

In the end, this is not my favorite Desaster album and its certainly not an album I'll be pulling out anytime soon. The sad part is that its technically not a bad album. It's just that they've done so much better in the past. I've noticed that when a band like this has such a massive line-up change it takes an album or two to get back in the groove. I think Desaster rushed getting this release out and maybe would have been better served letting the riffs simmer a bit more. However, maybe getting a bad album out of your system is a better idea? (And I mean bad for Desaster standards...) Ultimately if you've been a long running Desaster fan and you get this album, you might be pretty disappointed. However, I'm sticking with the project, I at least want to give them a chance to get back into their groove. In large discographies having every album be amazing is pretty rare... so let's see what Desaster puts out next time!

Desaster - Souls of Infernity
Iron Pegasus Records, 2001
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Souls of Infernity
2. Cross Me Fool (Razor Cover)
3. Sataniac  (Live)
4. Show Them How (Live)

It is with a truly heavy heart that I write this review. Big changes are coming in the Desaster camp and I can't see how any good will come of them. After a long and very prolific career as being the front man of the pre-eminent Black/Thrash band Okkulto has decided to leave the band. No explanation is given on this release it only states concerning the live tracks on side B "This was the 99th gig of Desaster and the final gig of vocalist Okkulto who left the band after they celebrated their biggest show (he says "eternal thanks to the faithful and loyal Fans and Maniacs")." Okkulto's voice is so patently unique that whoever Desaster find for a replacement will have some large shoes to fill. In same ways any change like this could be judged very harshly in the future and hopefully Desaster can figure something good out.

For now we have the final studio song produced with Okkulto called "Souls of Infernity" and it is rather in line with what we've heard on the amazing "The Tyrants of the Netherworld". He actually includes a lot of intense layering with some extremely deep vocals for him. It definitely leaves us with a different taste for his range. After the original song Desaster move onto a cover of Razor's "Cross Me Fool" with which they do an exceptional job. I was just mentioning to my girlfriend that if I went back and re-recorded a lot of the classic metal bands from the 80's with harsh Okkulto styled vocals I would probably enjoy it a lot, because the guitar work and music are spectacular. After this side B kicks in and we hear Okkulto's last vocal performance. Normally I would complain, but it seems appropriate for this... the vocals are WAY too high in the mix! I imagine this must have been a pretty incredible show to attend and the people there probably feel very lucky to have seen this final performance.

This is definitely a worthwhile collector's item to have, especially if you are a big fan of Okkulto's work and just want to have everything with his voice. There were 1,100 copies made, but in various installments, but all in 7" vinyl format. 100 copies were printed as a picture vinyl and hand-numbered, 200 were printed on red splatter, and 800 on black splatter. I have the red vinyl splatter, which wound up being a sort of fluke because I had ordered the black splatter thinking it would cost less... but I wound up with the red, which looks very awesome anyway and the one I would prefer to have. Ending the long running career on vinyl is perfect for Okkulto and I can only hope he hasn't left the music scene for good and I look forward to whatever he pursues next. As for Desaster... I'll have to wait and see what comes next.

Desaster - Tyrants of the Netherworld
Iron Pegasus Records, 2000
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Intro
2. Nekropolis Karthago
3. Victim of My Force
4. Profanation
5. Sworn to Avenge
6. Tyrants of the Netherworld
7. Call on the Beast
8. Battle Oath
9. Disciples of Darkness
10. Reign of Tyrants

A long career of playing some of the finest Black/Thrash Metal in existence has lead us to this monumental album. Some out there may disagree, but this is my all time personal favorite Desaster album. I have spoken to a few whom think "Hellfire's Dominion" is their best, but to me "Tyrants of the Netherworld" is the pinnacle of their career. Everyone is in truly rare form on this album and it is probably one of the best albums ever recorded. This is honestly my go-to album if someone asks me about Black/Thrash, there is literally nothing finer in my opinion.

As usual, I was expecting a good album from Desaster... but I really wasn't really prepared for the level of perfection Desaster was about to unleash for me. I really fell they truly outdid themselves and every song is so carefully written. I think they've really harnessed all the power they've manage to build from the prior material to really bring it into their finest form. This album starts off with the usual atmospheric keyboard intro before launching into the first track "Nekropolis Karthago" and we are off for the ride of our lives. Track after track on this album is simply one classic after another. Every riff is intoxicating and carefully written. We find Okkulto in rare form behind the microphone bringing a true voice to this album with his signature vocal style and I dare say this is one of his finest performances. I think the truly incredible thing is that there are no filler songs whatsoever at any point on this release. I do, sort of, wish there were some sections that had a bit more of a medieval theme, but the title track really fills that desire almost entirely! However, we finish the album off with the medieval instrumental "Reign of Tyrants" which is a very good song overall and a real solid closing to this album.

"Tyrants of the Netherworld" is one of those albums that is so good that I really can't think of the word to truly do it justice. If you know what Desaster sounds like from prior releases, then this is along the same lines, but everything is astoundingly more perfect than before. We didn't know we wanted it to be better, but Desaster delivered it anyway! This is truly the definitive Black/Thrash album by THE definitive Black/Thrash band. Bang or be banged! Buy or die!

Desaster - Ten Years of Total Desaster
Merciless Records, 1999
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

Disc 1:
1. Intro (Decade of Desaster)
2. The Witches' Rune
3. Sataniac
4. Vengeance Knows No Bound
5. Medi-Evil Rites
6. Metalized  Blood
7. Past... Present... Forever...
8. Ride on for Revenge
9. Sacrilege

Disc 2:
1. Devil's Sword
2. The Hill of a Thousand Souls
3. Tears of an Old Wizard
4. As the Deadworld Calls
5. The Final Desaster
6. Witchcraft
7. Porter of Hellgate
8. Scream for Mercy
9. Evil Arschloch

It's hard to believe Desaster has been around for ten years already! It doesn't feel like "A Touch of Medieval Darkness" debuted very long ago... In any event Desaster celebrate their ten years by giving something special to the fans. This is a double vinyl set encompassing the years of Desaster's activity. Unfortunately, it's limited to only 2,000 copies. It comes with a beautiful booklet inside explaining where all the tracks come from, lyrics to the new songs, loads of pictures and on the very back is a historical biography of Desaster. It's really a great read for any big Desaster fan and you can see their perspective on the early days of the Metal scene in their area.

Now, this isn't just your run of the mill compilation vinyl that many bands create to produce one more release against their contract. No, Desaster have included four brand new tracks! The first side of the first disc is entirely new material for our ears! It's really great stuff with "The Witches' Rune" being the most standout track in my opinion. The fact that this celebration release has new material makes this absolutely worth getting. From the new material we delve into a smattering of tracks from Desaster over the years. There are a couple live tracks to show that Desaster is as great live as they are in the studio. This celebration brings us through all their prior releases taking a track or two from each and if you were unfortunate to miss their demo days then there are even tracks included from that era as well. One of the real gems are the last two tracks, which is demo material from 1989. This is the original incarnation of Desaster featuring the other founding member Creator Cassie, who has since left the band leaving the only founder Infernal still involved. These last two demo tracks have never before been released, so that makes this a very special release indeed.

This is probably one of the most worthwhile compilations I have ever purchased. Not only do we get over an hour of Desaster classics, we get new songs and never before released demo material! What more could a Desaster fan want to celebrate ten years? Desaster truly makes this stuff for their die-hard fans because on the back of the set it says "This black vinyl-jewel will never appear in fuckin' CD format! For vinyl-hunters only!!!" And this is one of the reasons I love Desaster, I think they truly appreciate their fanbase a lot and wanted to give them a really special release. I can't wait to hear the next full-length now!

Desaster - Hellfire's Dominion
Merciless Records, 1998
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Intro
2. In the Ban of Satan's Sorcery
3. Expect No Release
4. Teutonic Steel
5. Metalized Blood
6. Thou Shalt Be King
7. Hellfire's Dominion
8. Past... Present... Forever...
9. Castleland
10. Across the Bloodfields

After the monumental "Stormbringer" I was eager to hear a new Desaster album. The amount of material this band has been cranking out over the years is very impressive. Given the volume you would think the material quality would decrease, but that is hardly the case with Desaster. I think they just keep getting better and better.

"Hellfire's Dominion" lands a lot more strongly on the Thrash Metal side of things, but the infusion of Black Metal is certainly still there. "Metalized Blood" is basically a serious throwback song to the 80's days of Thrash Metal. It's definitely a sort of anthem song to metal... I just can't do the high pitched vocals of Toto. I've never been into those, so I'm a little biased. In some respects this song probably should have appeared as a sort of "bonus" song at the end of the album. It kind of breaks up the usual Desaster atmosphere, because sitting between "Teutonic Steel" and "Thou Shalt Be King" just feels weird! Other than that track, everything is standard form for Desaster. Intoxicating riffing that is both atmospheric and catchy all at the same time. "Teutonic Steel" and the title track are clear favorites of mine on this album.

"Hellfire's Dominion" strikes back with one of the strongest Desaster release yet and I do find it even better than "A Touch of Medieval Darkness" despite how classic the first release is. This is a clear must have if you are a fan of the Black/Thrash genre, for no one is doing it nearly as well as Desaster can!

Desaster - Ride on for Revenge
Merciless Records, 1998
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Ride on for Revenge
2. Burning Crosses

This is the beginning of a real solid year for Desaster and it all begins with these two songs! After the "Stormbringer" EP I was fiending for more Desaster and I am glad they were happy to deliver so soon. This vinyl 7" picture disc is limited to 1000 copies and the real great part about the release is the two tracks are exclusive! This makes it a must have.

So this is actually quite an interesting release. The first song we run into is "Ride on for Revenge" and this is the most Black Metal, I think, I have ever heard Desaster perform. It features intense blast beats and icy cold riffs. If Desaster ever switched over to exclusively playing Black Metal, they would actually make a fairly formidable band. There's pretty much nothing from their catchier Thrash side involved in this song. While I do miss that, they still wrote a solid song and this made me wonder what was in store for me on side B. "Burning Crosses", while having the total Black Metal title is one the Thrashiest songs Desaster has ever written. It's almost back to the old days when they were nearly only playing Thrash Metal. It's a really killer song regardless and it's one of those situations where you realize that if Desaster exclusive played Thrash they would be great at that too! So, I think we're actually quite lucky that Desaster has managed to blend the styles so perfectly on their albums.

I really love this release because it gives us an actual sense of the two paths Desaster could have taken, but instead decided to perform together. Definitely a worth while collectors item for Desaster maniacs and totally worth hearing in general.

Desaster - Stormbringer
Merciless Records, 1997
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Stormbringer
2. The Swords will Never Sink
3. Sacrilege
4. Face of Darkness
5. Tormentor (Kreator Cover)
6. Emerging Castleland

If you just couldn't wait for another touch of medieval darkness, well Desaster have returned the following year with this Ep. I remember getting this when it came out and this was actually my first experience with Desaster when I was still in high school. I've listened to this Ep over and over since then and I still love it today. I remember I used to go on road trips to Canada with my family and I would always insist on bringing the best of my CD's with me... see this was back before mp3 players existed and having a portable CD player instead of a cassette player was a pretty huge deal! Oh the days of the discman and the walkman... I went through them all! Anyway, I always made sure I had my Desaster albums with me, because travelling without Desaster is unthinkable for me, even today!

"Stormbringer" is the moment when Okkulto went after a new vocal approach and would forever turn Desaster with having a very signature vocal performance, as if their sound already wasn't unique enough. "A Touch of Medieval Darkness" had a bit more of a standard Black Metal vocal style, but on here Okkulto has a sort of strangely commanding rasp styled vocal. I think this further blends the Thrash/Black feel Desaster are very well known for. I think they were trying this out to see how successful it would be and that's why it first appears on an Ep.

Musically this is absolutely stellar material! From beginning till end every riff is intoxicating and perfect. I think there's an even heavier touch of the medieval approach on this, which gives "Stormbringer" a very special atmosphere even compared to the debut album. The only major complaint I can have about these songs is their length, they are far too short. This sort of cuts off the epic feel of the music, but I can understand if they extended the tracks then we'd basically just have another Desaster full length on our hands!

This is an absolute classic piece of metal history and I feel privileged to have heard of Desaster this early on in their career. I highly recommend checking out this Ep and Desaster show they are the absolute kings at this style of Metal. Now the hardest part... what track to sample below...

Desaster - A Touch of Medieval Darkness
Merciless Records, 1996
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Skyline in Flames (Intro)
2. In a Winter Battle
3. A Touch of Medieval Darkness
4. Fields of Triumph
5. Devil's Sword
6. Into a Magical Night
7. Crypt of Dracul
8. Visions in the Autumn Shades
9. Porter of Hellgate
10. Home for the Brave (Outro)

Here it is, finally Desaster's first full length and it does not disappoint! "A Touch of Medieval Darkness" is essentially everything I've been waiting for.  It's really interesting to note that Desaster was one of the first bands signed to the Merciless Records label and they would essentially grow with this label as both gained more renown in the scene.

The album title basically sums up the nature of this album perfectly.  Although I do find it curious that the band decided to open with a re-recorded demo song "In a Winter Battle", which was originally featured on the "Lost in Ages" demo. It is certainly a solid song, but it does sound a little basic given how overwhelming good the new material is.  The title track alone is essentially the signature sound Desaster would get really well known for. For some reason amidst their Black and Thrash Metal blend they really manage to evoke very clear images of a medieval era. Even Black Metal bands would struggle to get this image across to it's listeners, but Desaster seem to pull this off so effortlessly and they seem to have a wealth of this kind of material flowing from them. This is one of the aspects that really launched Desaster's career as well known and consistently solid Metal band. I honestly feel bad if someone claims to be a metal fan and has never heard of this incredible band.  They are literally my go to Black/Thrash band by which I judge all others.

In the end this is an extremely successful debut album from Desaster and it would swiftly become a legendary classic in the world of Metal today. They truly managed to create a timeless sound and that is why Desaster is my favorite of this brand of Metal. I enjoy bands like Aura Noir, certainly, but none of them have the prowess and intoxicating riffing that Desaster manage to bring album after album! Simply an incredible group.

Desaster & Ungod Split
Merciless Records, 1995
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. The Hill of a Thousand Souls
2. Aeon of Sunless Dominion
3. Outro

Side Ungod: ...coming eventually...
Side Desaster:

After such a compelling demo, I am not surprised Desaster found themselves finally releasing material through a record label.  For their first foray in this venture, they've put one track towards a new split with Ungod. Unforutnately, I missed out on this split and buying a copy today is rather pricey, so I've had to resort to listening to mp3's found online.  Someday I may be able to buy my own copy, which I realize is probably strange given the fact I own both demos.

I'm not sure the mp3 rip is very good, because Desaster's music came out sounding very thin.  This is the first time I've ever heard Desaster sound this way and it doesn't even sound like that on the demo material.  Usually the band has quite a bit of punch to their sound.  That being said, the song is really well done. They've built on the song structuring they first developed in "Lost in Ages" and started writing even more intoxicating riffs.  The blend between the Thrash and Black Metal is much more fluid and they are really on their way to writing some truly classic albums in the future. There are sections of the songs that are downright haunting and I simply can't wait for a full-length from this project!

Desaster - Lost in Ages
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal

1. Hymn to Forgotten Lands
2. In a Winter Battle
3. Tears of an Old Wizard
4. Lost in the Ages
5. As the Deadworld Calls
6. Leaving the Hall of Kings

Here it is, the moment I've been waiting for in Desaster's career.  This is where the notion of Black/Thrash really started to rear it's ugly head upon the world.  There were only a few bands toying with this genre around this time, one of the more notable being Aura Noir, whom would go on to release such great albums as "Black Thrash Attack" and "Deep Tracts of Hell".  For me, though, Desaster is the band that would hold an even more special place in my heart.  Where Aura Noir focused on the fast paced grit of Thrash Metal, Desaster infused a lot more of the atmospheric and epic elements of Black Metal into their style.  Then to top off this incredible fusion, they blended in some beautiful medieval styled guitar passages that brought a whole new dimension to their sound.

Beginning with a haunting intro "Hymn to Forgotten Lands" sets the stage for the type of atmosphere we are expected to encounter.  It comes across as ancient, but has a modern keyboard feel, along with some cheesy aspects.  However, the metal Desaster would launch into with "In a Winter Battle" is anything but cheesy.  Here we would find an incredibly well written piece that really shows the band has matured in it's writing since "The Fog of Avalon".  The band moves away from the early Hellhammer influence, and instead seems to draw more from the early Norwegian Black Metal bands.  There are even riffs that could easily be found on any Black Metal album with the fast tremelo picking of chords, which is a staple of the genre.  However, it wouldn't be until we got to "Tears of an Old Wizard" that we would see that they were fusing even more new content together.  Amidst riffs that are distinctly Thrash Metal, there is also an injection of a very medieval sounding passage.  Rather than the Viking elements incorporated in the Norwegian scene or Bathory's music, we get a very regional difference in the music here.  This blends into the music so well and gives such an epic presentation that it launches the musics quality to near "Blood Fire Death" realms.  In fact I feel Desaster would eventually reach such heights with "Tyrants of the Netherworld", but for now we see how their well crafted songs are beginning.

Okkulto's vocal performance is another notable change.  Here is where we start to hear Okkulto using his more well known vocal approach.  His vocals still land more on the side of Black Metal, but he would eventually have a very unique voice in this world in successive albums.  Members have even adopted wearing corpse paint in the band photos, showing even more clearly their alliance with the Scandinavian genre.

"Lost in the Ages" is one of the most important genre defining demos of the time frame.  Having this historic landmark in my collection means a lot to me.  If you're fan of this type of material, I highly recommend you seek out and hear this demo.  Due to it's popularity it should be easy to find in terms of hearing the music.

Desaster - The Fog of Avalon
Self-Released, 1993
Genre: Thrash Metal

1. Twilight (Intro)
2. The Final Desaster
3. And the Powers Above
4. Face of Darkness
5. Into a Magical Night
6. Northern Breeze
7. Witchcraft
8. Dawn (Outro)
9. Countess Bathory (Venom Cover)

There are few things out there that hold truly legendary status, but I think many would agree that Desaster hold such a timeless status with the music they created.  Their original demos are highly sought after collectors items today and they have risen to legendary status over the years.  The demo comes on a dubbed cassette with a home made cover, which seems upside down in the packaging.  There is also an extra sheet of paper that was hand written/put together and xeroxed.  This piece of paper is very special and inside prints a photo and a brief bio of the band:

"The history of Desaster began in 1988 when Infernal Kusch and Creator Cassie decided to create their own sound influenced by Venom and Hellhammer then recorded two demos (which were never published) and played one live gig before Creator Cassie went his own way in 1990.

But Infernal Kusch kept the cult of Desaster alive.  "Witchcraft", which was originally named "Hexenkessel" is a song of this time.

Since 1992 the chaos goes on with the present formation. "The Fog of Avalon" is the first recording of the new line-up and it is just the beginning.  A single and more live gigs are planned."

I think the bio is leads us into a good discussion of the music.  "The Fog of Avalon", in my opinion, is such an early work that Desaster had yet to really infuse that atmosphere of Black Metal into their sound.  Instead you can hear the influences of the early German Thrash bands along with Bathory, Venom, and Hellhammer.  The songwriting is fairly primitive and it really hasn't developed into the complex structure we would later hear from this project.  The songs are actually often slow and plodding rather than fast and raging.  There are some songs that have fast parts, but for the most part the demo plods along.  I will say it does tend to sound different from the other bands at this time for 1993 and Desaster really hasn't developed into that unique medieval sound just yet.  The other aspect of the music I found very interesting is Okkulto's vocals for this demo.  He really has a very stand-out and signature vocal approach in the later albums, but on this one he uses a very standard vocal approach.  It's more of a higher-range rasp that you would expect to find on Black Metal albums and feels influenced by what Quorthon was doing vocally on the early Bathory albums.

This being a demo from 1993, I'm sure people are wondering how the production came across.  It's surprisingly quite good.  You can hear everything fairly well, the vocals are a little behind the mix from time to time, but that's the only real issue.  The recording has a very raw edge to it, naturally, but that really works in these songs favor.

This is by far one of the more interesting pieces in my collection and I feel very lucky to have it.  Desaster would later form albums that I mark as some of my all time favorites.  They would really influence the creation of a new area in the genre and write songs similar to Moonblood with a medieval infusion, but both bands working towards very different sounds.  This is definitely a piece of history I recommend people experience!

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