Wehrmacht
Shark Attack / Biērmächt (Reissues)

Wehrmacht hailed from Oregon and had a nice underground run in the 80’s.  Other than some demos, their body of work is with their two albums:  The 1987 debut Shark Attack and 1989 follow-up Biērmächt both released on New Renaissance Records.  Wehrmacht played a blistering style of crossover thrash metal, which at the time was really the start of some of the first blast beats.  If you were into Cryptic Slaughter and or Beyond Possession, back then, you no doubt had Wehrmacht in your collection.  At that time I was always trying to get the fastest and most brutal bands and all these bands were of course in my collection.  I had all the underground ‘zines and I even did a review of Shark Attack in my school paper, back in 1987.

So the awesome Hammerheart Records has dusted off these classics for the reissues.  It must be due to the fact the 2010 reissues from F.O.A.D. Records are out of print.  I will say I have both those deluxe digipak reissues and those are some of the best reissues known to man.  Both had upgraded remastering from the source tapes, massive booklets with lyrics/pics/flyers/liners and hellaciously extensive bonus songs on each reissue.  On Hammerheart’s website they list these reissues as 2cd sets, so maybe it’s the same bonus features – I do not know.  What I can say is I am only reviewing the digital promos I received from the company.

The band’s debut, Shark Attack, is still one of my favorite albums from that time period.  Played with monstrous speed and maybe some of the drum patterns were not the tightest, but I really never cared.  When the Jaws Movie Theme opens the album with the guitars and then slowly building up with the double bass/drum rolls going into lightning warp speeds, even by today’s musical standards this is still super intense, before bursting into the title track.  The band always liked to sing about getting drunk and drinking alcohol out of someone’s boot.  Yes there are some real recorded puking sessions on the debut album.

Other massively fast songs such as “Termination” and “Jabberjaw” were enough to lop your heads off and if you cannot laugh at the “B.O.S. (Barrage of Skankers)”, lyrics where it’s all about being the most metal and not a poser, then you do not have a sense of humor.  The digital promo sounds outstanding – massive in fact. Loud and in your face.  Sounds like this may be a new remaster – but it is powerful. There are some issues with changing the song placements though.  The biggest misstep is the promo completely leaves off one of the original songs – “Go Home”.  Why this is missing is a mystery.  Then the puke part is supposed to be attached to “United Shoebrothers”, but they made them 2 separate songs and not played back to back is odd and out of place.  What the promo adds is a song “Concrete Meat”.  This was recorded during the Shark Attack session but previously never released.  The song destroys.  Super-fast and ultra-heavy.  The album cover has been gloriously restored as well.

The 1989 Biērmächt follow-up to the outstanding Shark Attack pulled back on the unbridled aggression of their debut.  The band continuing to sing about alcohol, “Drink Jack”, smoking weed – “Munchies” and with some of the other songs, they seemed more like filler and the album, as a whole is disjointed, because of the songs that do not seem like real songs..Yes I am looking at the 9 second “Everb / E…! / Micro-E!”, which is a complete waste.  However, in between the B.S. type of songs, there are some insanely awesome songs.  “Gore Flix”, “The Wehrmacht”, “Night of Pain (Part I)” and the title track are all excellent songs, along with a few others, however, if the band put more emphasis into real songs like these then I believe Biērmächt would have been heralded as their debut has always been.  All in all it’s still a good album.  The remastering, just like on Shark Attack, is loud, crisp and pristine.  Sounds insane.  The album cover has also been gloriously restored and is a bonus.  Unfortunately, the digital promo has no bonus songs.

If you do not own the F.O.A.D. or even the numbered New Renaissance Records reissues from years ago – you have to hop on the wagon and get these reissues.  The sound is worthy of the price of admission, even if these digital promos, are lacking in bonus content.  Wehrmacht were one of the best underground brutal thrash crossover acts and were an important part of the scene in the 80’s.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 18th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: Ben

    Love seeing a Wehrmacht review! I’ve had a soft spot for these fellows since the first time I heard them on Speed Metal Hell Vol. 3 and Thrash Metal Attack in the late 80’s.


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