666 - Satan's Soldiers Syndicate

The metal underground is a pretty huge place, and although I’ve been aware of German black/thrash warriors Desaster for some time now, I’ve never gone out of my way to check them out. With so many bands straining against the ragged boundaries of the genre, mutating and splintering and recombining elements to create something fresh and new, I figured – eh, they’re probably nothing I haven’t heard before. Well, sometimes it takes a back-to-basics approach to remind you how powerful and effective something like good ol’ fashioned thrash can be. It’s the equivalent of a good steak – sometimes you want a more involved meal, but sometimes, nothing beats a chunk of meat, thick and blackened and barely cooked beyond bloody.

After an ominous, atmospheric intro – hints of Burzum, rather misleading – Desaster explodes with “Satan’s Soldiers Syndicate”. Deep philosophy this is not, but we’re not here for the lyrics – this is pure, vicious thrash, delivered straight to the R-complex. That’s the reptilian core in each of our brains that controls the urge to eat, the urge to fuck, and apparently, the urge to headbang for Satan. SSS blasts out one archetypal thrash moment after another, in a variety of speeds, from all-out firestorm to smoky dirge to chugging hellbound locomotive. High points include “Angel Extermination,” (featuring Ashmedi from Melechesh), “Razor Ritual” and “Hellbangers,” but everything here pretty much kills. In fact, classic Slayer comes to mind several times throughout the album’s ten blistering tracks, as Desaster showcases a command of dynamics that more complex bands sometimes lose despite their ambition. I defy you to stay still as you listen to this, no matter what you’re doing at the time.

Equally impressive is the thick, massive production – I don’t remember the thrash of my teenage years being this pummeling. Impressive as the metal onslaught may be, it’s vocalist Sataniac who really puts this over the top. His snarling, gargled delivery borders on insane, even teeters on the edge of caricature (and intelligibility), but he’s got so much character that it makes the wry, sour sneer of classic thrash seem flat and harmless by comparison. As an added bonus, Proscriptor (Absu) lends his seething hiss to the epic “Tyrannizer,” which is then lifted up to even more triumphant heights by another guest performance, this time from AA Nemtheanga (Primordial).

So consider me educated – and given that Desaster has been sharpening their craft for 20 years now, I’ve got some catching up to do. There may be a thrash revival going on, but it seems as if Desaster never knew it had faded away. Completely badass.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 3rd, 2008


  1. Commented by: Staylow

    This sounds like it should be right up my alley – I’ll have to check it out.

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