Churches Without Saints
Review by Michael on April 29, 2021.
After five years of waiting, German black thrash legends Desaster will finally release their new album Churches Without Saints. After their old drummer Stefan "Tormentor" Hüskens has completely left for Asphyx and has been replaced by Marco "Hont" Hontheim, the curiosity is of course especially big of how this will be noticeable on the new album.
Churches Without Saints starts with a short, very epic intro, to then rush off with 'Learn To Love the Void'. Here you quickly find the usual trademarks like the typical Desaster riffing, but also a few more classic melodies have crept in here. 'Failing Trinity' starts like you are used to from older Desaster albums. Here again riffs and melodies are used that could have been on the late 90s / early 2000s albums. 'Exile Is Imminent' goes backwards even one step further in my opinion and reminds me in parts of the Lost In The Ages demo - very old school!!! The title track, on the other hand, provides quite a surprise, because the band is moving in quasidoom realms here, probably the slowest track the band has ever written. A rogue one which I think has something to do with Infernal's sideproject "Moontowers". The opening riff is very reminiscent of "Hells Bells" (with the appropriate bell sounds). 'Hellputa' is a pretty fast, aggressive song that includes a very cool Motörhead memory riff in the middle section! The song will definitely be pretty well celebrated live!!! The next songs are all very catchy black thrash grenades, which are also very convincing. With the penultimate song 'Endless Awakening' Desaster provide in my eyes, an absolute killer. I personally see it as the best song on the album. It starts with an acoustic guitar, which is rather unusual for the band and it is followed by an absolutely cool riffing, which is known from A Touch Of Medieval Darkness. I get goosebumps from it every time and the best part is that the song lasts 7 minutes!!! Finally, there is an outro called 'Aus Asche' which also features an acoustic guitar and gives off a little flair of old Moonspell with the whispered lyrics and guitar arrangements.
Production-wise, it can be noted that the band has changed their sound a bit and sounds a bit more mangy and old-school again. This does not mean that we have to deal with a rehearsal room flair here, every instrument and Sataniacs voice is clearly produced and it sounds more like the old Desaster and that was also the intention of the band. Mission accomplished!!!
So what is my conclusion for Churches Without Saints? I must confess that initially I had a little difficulty to make friends with the songs, as they are a bit more convoluted and not as catchy as on the last albums, but when you take the time to listen to the album more intensely (and you should definitely do that), it grows with every listen. The departure of Tormentor, (who is very happy with Asphyx), has also been well compensated. Horns up for Churches Without Saints.
Rating: 9 out of 10 absent Saints549