Sacred Reich
Awakening

Arizona Thrash veterans , Sacred Reich, return with their first full length since, Heal, from 1996.  Awakening is their 5th full length and after reforming years ago the band has made it more than a reunion, because unlike a lot of bands reuniting Sacred Reich actually recorded a new album, rather than continuing to rest on their laurels and tour and not put out anything new.  Therefore I have the utmost respect for them, plus they’re out touring too.  I saw them a few months ago and they fucking destroyed the place.  So everyone wants to know did the band drop a deuce or did they actually put out a good album?

The answer is they put out a good album, that is in some ways more part metal than pure thrash metal.  If you’re looking for the unbridled thrash of their debut, and best album, Ignorance, look elsewhere, however there are some nods to the debut on this.  Opening with the title track with a nice thrash metal speed, it’s clear Phil Rind, bass/vox, Dave McClain, drums, Wiley Arnett and Joey Radziwill, guitars are having fun and the title track with its pounding drums and classic guitar solos shows Sacred Reich still has gas left in the tank.  Phil’s vocals sounding great and even going into higher registers.  I love the chorus, the drum sound and the riffing on this track-some of the best they have ever done.  “Divide & Conquer” is another scorching thrash number with a catchy chorus and Phil sounding great and a nice guitar solo at the 2 minute mark.  Melodic and fast towards the end of the solo, before the track gets back to the thrash speed, then goes back into the chorus and the riffing is fantastic.  “Salvation” has some classic metal moments and I pulled out some Maiden and Sabbath moments.  The song is slow, but has a tight groove which could translate into some nice circle pits.

“Manifest Reality” picks up the speed and the guitar riffing, is super fast and the Holy Shit moment is the isolated guitar riff at the 3.28 mark, then the drum hits and then into a fast thrashing riffing moment.  Super awesome.  “Killing Machine” is a groovy number, which has a bit of Exodus to it, but really Sacred Reich has always had these groove tracks and the riffing on this song, the catchy chorus and lyrics really make this song a super strong contender for massive pit rioting in a live environment.  I guess with the way this review is going I’ll be touching on each song.  Things get clunky with “Death Valley”.  While the song is catchy, it’s a pretty radio friendly tune.  You could find this song on Lithium or Octane on satellite radio, because it feels pretty mainstream.  A very light metal song and the band decides to close out the album with “Something to Believe”.  This sounds like a b-side to an Anthrax I Am The Man ep. I love Anthrax and that suited them, but this track…oofa.  I say this is because this song has more of a hard rock vibe to it, rather than some of the balls out thrash metal this album should end with.  Christ I’ve heard harder guitar riffs from a band like Train, then this debacle.  Folks, when ending your album, leave on a high note, meaning a super strong song, because when you end an album with a track like this, it can leave a sour taste in the listener’s mouth.  I hate this fucking song.  They should have at least swapped it with the second to the last track and had “Revolution” end the album.  “Revolution” is a balls out monster thrashing tune with excellent vocals and more monster riffing.  The stop n start slow moments are spectacular.  This 100% should have been the song to end the album.

So there you have it.  Sacred Reich’s Awakening is a very good album.  It’s like 1/2 part thrash and the rest is metal with some hard rock moments.  I wanted another faster track and really if “Something to Believe” was left off the album and replaced with a fast track or even a kick ass song like “Killing Machine”, it would have made a difference, in my review.  The musicianship is great and the production destroys.  It fits perfectly and the cd booklet layout is nicely put together.  At the end of the day if I was doing like numbers ratings I’d give this a 7-7.5/10.  Overall Sacred Reich has put out a decent album, which I really enjoy listening to and will go back to multiple times.  It’s only like 32 minutes and maybe “Something to Believe” will grow on me when I’m 95 years old.  Regardless, welcome back Sacred Reich!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
September 9th, 2019

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