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Sacred Reich "Awakening"



Whichever tier of thrash metal you consigned Sacred Reich back in the 80's/90's they still had their moments.  "Ignorance" "Surf Nicaragura" did a great job of establishing the band, whereas "The American Way" just got a little too comfortable and accessible (the title track grates nowadays) for my ears.  A couple more records better left forgotten about and then nothing for twenty three years.  2019 alone has now seen three releases from Phil Rind and co.  A live EP, a split EP with Iron Reagan and now a full length.

Notable addition to the ranks for the current throng of releases is former Machine Head sticksman, Dave McClean.  Love or hate Machine Head, McClean is a more than capable drummer and his presence here is felt from the off with the opening and title track kicking things off with some real gusto.  'Divide & Conquer' and 'Salvation' muddle along nicely, never quite reaching any quality that would make my balls tingle but comfortable enough.  The looming build to 'Manifest Reality' delivers a real punch when the song starts proper.  Frenzied riffs and drums with shots of lead work to hold the interest.

Sacred Reich - Awakening

There's a problem already though (I know, I am such a fucking mood hoover).  I don't like Phil's vocals.  I never had if I am being honest.  The aggression to them seems a little forced even when they are at their best on tracks like 'Manifest Reality'.  When he tries to sing it just feels weak though ('Salvation') and tracks lose real punch.  Give him a riffy number such as 'Killing Machine' and he is fine with the Reich engine (probably a poor choice of phrase) up in sixth gear.  For every thrashy riff there's a fair share of rock edged, local bar act rhythm aplenty too.

Let's not poo-poo proceedings though, because overall I actually enjoy "Awakening".  It is stacked full of catchy riffs that are sticky on the old ears.  Whilst not as raw as perhaps the - brilliant - artwork suggests with its black and white, tattoo flash sheet style design it is enjoyable enough.  Yes, 'Death Valley' & 'Something to Believe' have no place here, saved only by Arnett and Radziwill's lead work but 'Revolution' is a fucking 80's thrash heyday throwback to the extent that if you turn the TV on during it you might catch a new episode of Cheers!



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I have to be honest and say this album was a complete surprise for me...possibly the biggest "Surprise" of 2019 (along with Exhorder's new album that is).

While one could argue the album is too short I personally think its one the most fun thrash albums I've ever heard. The songs are catchy & melodic & just have an "energy" to them that I haven't heard in a long time. I will admit the overall album production quality is a little weak...but hopefully the band will fix this issue when recording their follow up.

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I loved The American Way...never liked anything they did after that though. Heal & Independent were very average to my ears. Gotta say, the mastering on this release is pretty average, the whole thing sounds flat. Might give it another go but overall, I'm not that enthusiastic about this one at all.

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When Kataklysm covers The American Way, I really prefer it, doesn't have to be complicated to be cool, and they (Kataklysm) have a sound I like better because of production value and gear. 


I like the guitars, but where is the drum style from the american way? Tight rolls and huge fills are missing, I think the big open guitars and cool simple grinding riffs need a technician behind the drums, just not hearing the same intensity and energy. Like on salvation, That intro is a great spot to show off some chops, these drums almost sound..polite somehow lol. anyway, cool album none the less, thanks for posting about it or I would have missed it ❤️ OP

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On 3/29/2022 at 8:25 PM, KillaKukumba said:

Last I heard Phil was still in hospital and they had to cancel more shows because they didn't know when he was going to be let out.


Damn, man. I had no idea. I hope he recovers quickly. 

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On 4/2/2022 at 7:46 PM, KillaKukumba said:

Looks like they were back on stage March 28, so whatever Phil's ailments it appears he's over them.

Nice! Looks like they passed on a little bad luck to Sepultura though. lol 

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