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ASSASSIN Combat Cathedral

By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Sunday, June 26, 2016 @ 9:40 AM

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Combat Cathedral
Steamhammer/SPV Records

If you're a fan of Thrash Metal, then you no doubt have learned about the origins of the genre. Most people trace it to The Big 4: ANTHRAX, MEGADETH, METALLICA & SLAYER, although to be fair, the credit should be that they were able to take Thrash to the masses and gave it a broader appeal. But there were others who you could argue should sit in the lofty position with those 4, like OVERKILL, EXODUS & TESTAMENT for starters. Myself, I've always been a huge fan of German Thrash, which was always a bit more aggressive. And they too, had their Big 4: DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SODOM & TANKARD
. All worthy of wearing the crown of Thrash royalty. And they too, had bands that can and did produce some face melting Thrash around the same time, like EXUMER, NECRONOMICON, DARKNESS & ASSASSIN.

ASSASSIN's Thrash career begin as SATANICA in 1982, but they changed their name to the familiar ASSASSIN in 1983, and released the Holy Terror demo in 1985. My first taste of ASSASSIN was the blistering The Upcoming Terror album, which I stumbled across in 1986. Before the interweb for all you millennial's, fanzines, tape trading and old fashion buy & pray it was good was how us Old Skoolers got our Metal fix.

Anyhoo, fast forward to 2016 and Düsseldorf's ASSASSIN is still alive and kicking, but as you would expect only 1 lone original remains from the ancient days, that being guitarist Michael Hoffmann.

Combat Cathedral is the latest offering and pulls no punches I assure you. "Back From The Dead" wastes no time in kicking your ass with precision riffing and machine-gun drumming. The biggest difference in ASSASSIN 2016 is obviously the vocals of Ingo 'Crowzak' Bajonczak, whose deeper vocals from original vocalist Robert Gonnella give the band a more vicious tone, although to be fair they lose a bit of the originality of Robert who had an easily identifiable voice, like Mille from KREATOR.

"Frozen Before Impact" is a little under two and a half minutes long and shows the band can make quite a statement in such a short period of time.

"Undying Mortality" sees Ingo using a bit of melody in his voice to great effect. The rhythm section of Joachim Kremer on bass & Björn 'Burn' Sondermann on drums are locked in and let's face it, to be a top tier Thrash band, nothing less will do.

"Servant Of Fear" begins with a subdued band taking it down several steps but fear not, it doesn't last long as soon they are back raging full force! A touch of melody in the chorus reminds me of South Of Heaven era SLAYER, never a bad thing. Even a spoken word middle section about Fear to boot.

"Slave Of Time" begins mid-tempo and gets the head banging before the band kicks into overdrive. Michael and his guitar counterpart Jürgen 'Scholli' Scholz are certified riffing machines as their is no letting up on the razor sharp speed.

"Whoremonger" slows things down so everyone can breathe. Only temporarily tho, so don't fret. ASSASSIN are unrelenting in their Thrash attack let me assure you.

"Cross The Line" tells you there is nowhere to hide as the band pummels you once more with Germanic precision metal. Killer guitar solo in this one as well. A bit of their native tongue in the midsection to boot.

"What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger" begins with a sample from the iconic movie The Warriors, as Cyrus speaks to the throng of gang members about taking over NYC. Can you dig it??? A slow buildup before the beating begins. I have failed to mention the blistering guitar tone and overall production and with this band I think it's a must. Props given to Marc Görtz from German Metalcore band CALIBAN for the earthy but precision tones.

"Ambush" begins with almost DRI inspired bass rumbling before the hummingbird riffing begins. As with almost every song, gang backing vocals are present to enhance the choruses.

"Word" comes blasting out of the speakers with no intro and just gets down to business. A blistering solo with a bit of SLAYER whammy bar just takes it over the top.

"Sanity From The Insane" is a ballad. Haha, I'm bullshitting you! It's a non-stop riffing beatdown with more insane hummingbird riffing. My arms are rubber just from air guitaring to this, much less actually doing it.

"Red Alert" is the final song and starts off slow and menacing, with an eerie guitar in the background. When Ingo says 'All Hell Breaks Loose', you can bet your ass ASSASSIN are about to tear you a new one. But these guys know how to craft songs, albeit at breakneck speed, not just throw riffs on top of each other.

If you're a fan of Thrash or very aggressive music in general, I'd say go find Combat Cathedral in short order and be prepared for the aural onslaught. No energy drinks needed as if this doesn't get you going, you might check your pulse.

And for my Vinyl loving aficionados out there, this IS available on RED Vinyl!!! Only 500 made including the cd, so you better get cracking!!

4.25 Skulls Out Of 5.0

Grab your copy of Combat Cathedral in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

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