“Combat Cathedral”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sometimes change is good for bands that have been around for a long time. That’s exactly what happened to Germany’s Assassin on “Combat Cathedral”. Their former lead singer Robert Gonella took his leave in 2014 after almost 30 years with the band. Instead of calling it a day, in comes a new guy by the name of “Crowczak” and Assassin sounds angrier and more motivated than ever.

“Combat Cathedral” is balls-out heaviness from the first note to the last. It’s not revolutionary and sometimes the songwriting seems simple-minded in its anger, but wow, what energy! You can feel that thirst for blood throughout the running time and that carries the band over some rough spots. This record also sounds thicker, heavier and more modern than Assassin’s recent efforts. It’s not retro at all! Sure, there’s still plenty of good old German thrash to be found, but I also detect a lot of more modern thrash bands like Dew-Scented and Hatesphere in the attack. And Mr. Crowczak’s vocals also don’t disappoint. He’s not a Gonella clone but has his own burly, angry sound.
“Back From The Dead” is an immediate statement and kick in the nuts, with a raw but clear guitar sound. From there the pummeling continues, with “Slave of Time” and “Sanity From The Insane” being real stand outs. A couple of songs like “Whoremonger” and “Undying Mortality” tend to drag more than they should, but again, that furious anger propels Assassin onwards. This is one raging album.

I always thought Assassin was a “second-tier” band before but 30 years after their creation, maybe they are starting to challenge that perception with “Combat Cathedral”!