For a long time now, German Thrash Metal act Assassin have been a personal favorite within the genre. Their debut full-length alone is enough to secure their place as one of Thrash’s most criminally underrated heroes, as it is nothing short of genius in its own right.
I must admit, though, that I was somewhat surprised when I discovered that they had released a new album in 2016, and that they have been semi-regularly releasing albums throughout the 2000s. The surprise was pleasant, of course, but the real question remains: how do they hold up in today’s Thrash scene?
The answer is…a little too well. While Assassin’s 80s releases remain creative and ingeniously composed albums by any standards, both past and present, their modern output has been inconsistent at best. Breaking the Silence was a very solid effort, The Club was much less so, to say the least, and Combat Cathedral falls in between.
Like much of the albums in today’s Thrash scene, Combat Cathedral has a more modern metal edge, and is certainly edgy and angry. The riffs are often busy, sometimes more mid-paced. There are plenty of breakdowns, but not many hooks. The albums is far from a severe misstep, but there’s not too much to really sink your teeth into. The riffing is satisfying, and the solos are more than competent, but what else does it have going for it? Melody is sparse, and as a consequence, much of this album, bright spots included, will be forgotten soon after listening. It’s not a bad album by any means, but it’s not a great one, either. If you like Assassin, or if you like your Thrash indiscriminate, angry, and as a means for casual mosh-fuel, this could very well be the album for you.