American thrash legends Sacred Reich return, after a mammoth 23 years, with their long-awaited new album ‘Awakening’. It’s been too long, far far too long. In 1996 the band released their last album ‘Heal’ and, much to the disappointment of fans around the world, they bowed out of the music scene for a number of years. In a recent interview singer Phil Rind explained the gap was because they didn’t have new songs and now they have new songs. Most musicians go through periods where inspiration doesn’t strike but 23 years is a hell of a long time for the well of creativity to dry up.
The album kicks off with the storming title track ‘Awakening’. Hearing Phil’s voice takes me right back to my teenage years and instantly brings a smile to my face. It’s great to finally hear new material from the guys again. This is a very typical sounding Sacred Reich track, full on thrash, and could have appeared on previous albums such as ‘The American Way’. Tracks such as ‘Revolution’ and ‘Killing Machine’ also fall into this mould and will make their existing thrasher fan base very happy. ‘Manifest Reality’ is one of my favourite songs on the album and has an old-school Slayer type vibe to it. Phil commented in a recent press release: “Going into it, we had a loose idea as far as knowing that we wanted some fast, heavy songs to honour the old school fans that have supported us and got us to this point. We wanted everything to happen naturally. We didn’t want to force anything and we are super stoked with every song. It is easily the best thing we have ever done. Regardless of what happens with the record, the experience of making it was enough to satisfy us. Obviously we hope people like it, but even if it tanked, it could not change the way we feel about it. We know what we did”. The album however is also actually full of surprises. Songs like ‘Divide and Conquer’ have more of a groove to it and the vocal melodies on this and ‘Something to Believe’ really surprised me. Phil has really branched out in his vocal style and there’s a lot more experimentation and genre defying ideas coming through on this release.
The production on the album sounds amazing. It has a great raw energy to it and has really captured the band at their ferocious best. Guitar riffs are razor sharp, the drums sound huge, and Phil’s voice sounds as good as it has always been.
The first time I listened to the album I thought it was great and I immediately had to listen to it over again. Like many other Sacred Reich releases the album barely makes it over the thirty minute mark. Some may criticise this short duration but I’ve always been of the opinion it’s better to have fewer great tracks than a bunch of filler to pad out an album. Too many albums outstay their welcome and get tiring before you get to the end, this isn’t one of them. Incredible release and easily one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. I really can’t praise this highly enough. Don’t hesitate to pick it up if you can. The band are also touring the album and you can catch them in the UK on these dates:
Nov. 27 – London, UK – Underworld
Nov. 29 – Newcastle, UK – University
Nov. 30 – Glasgow, UK – Classic Grand
Dec. 1 – Belfast, UK – Limelight 2
Dec. 3 – Dublin, Ireland – Voodoo Lounge
Dec. 4 – Wolverhampton, UK – SteelMill
‘Awakening’ is available August 23rd through Metal Blade Records, pre-order here.
Reviewer: Martin Patterson