Let’s get into some Thrash Metal tonight, hey? Listen, I’m not gonna lie to you, I never really gave SACRED REICH a chance back in the day. I listened to Surf Nicaragua once, and never went back. Well here we are, 23 years removed from the band’s last album Heat, and they’ve re-emerged with Awakening (out now, Metal Blade Records). If this is any indication then I was most definitely missing out. The fire in this band after all these years still burns bright. Not only that, but the songs are really good! Vocalist and bassist Phil Rind sounds amazing, and the twin guitar attack of Wiley Arnett (lead) and newcomer Joey Radziwell (rhythm) are totally in lockstep. Oh, and drummer Dave McClain’s return is a welcome one for sure.
The title track opens the disc and quite frankly breaks the whole thing wide open with searing riffs and laser rocket leads. “Divide & Conquer” is Classic Thrash 101, with bite your head off lyrics and music on the verses, and an instantly memorable chorus. Not surprisingly this is one of my favorites. McClain gives us some tribalesque drums to start “Salvation” and then we’re into traditional headbanging territory with the hammer swinging down on our necks. The guitars really drive the Panzer tank on “Manifest Reality” and the band goes all in, hell bent on giving you a goddamn concussion.
“Killing Machine” truly stood out to me on my very first listen, not only for the exceptional and timely lyrics but also because of the guitar solo. It is so fluid that it’s downright criminal. Plus the hook is pretty badass, too. And can we discuss the album’s absolute best track in “Death Valley”?!? Man alive, this one has been with me for months and I still can’t get enough of it! No matter how old it might be, apparently the SACRED REICH machine can go from 0-60 in five seconds, which “Revolution” only confirms. Jeez and crackers this fucker moves like an Italian sports car on a closed course.
The album ends with “Something to Believe”, an uplifting and very anthemic track. This one kind of reminds me of early ARMORED SAINT, which is a good thing, trust me. At the end of the day SACRED REICH have given us a fucking fantastic record with this one. And I can say right now that Awakening is right up there with OVERKILL’S excellent The Wings of War and Years of Aggression from SUICIDAL ANGELS as far as the best Thrash Metal albums of 2019. You can take that to the bank. Don’t believe me? Then buy it today and tell me I’m wrong. You won’t be able to, because you’ll be too busy abusing your REPEAT button!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM