Seeing that Sacred Reich are an older band that haven’t released a full-length in over twenty years, I was pleasantly surprised at how well their newest effort Awakening turned out. Earlier this year, they did a split with Iron Reagan titled “Don’t Do It Donnie” that showed some strong potential; but a whole album of those would have been questionable. They still lay down the American political backbone (like they always have), and this disc exceeded my expectations based off of that short number.
One of the key ingredients here is fueling the songs with anger, a common tactic in thrash metal. Though Sacred Reich have always been closer to the crossover end of things, this album doesn’t reflect much hardcore, if at all. “Killing Machine” may be the only exception to this, as it’s crafted on punky stomps, garnished with an unsettling, whiny solo. “Divide And Conquer” reaches even more pissed-off levels with buzzing speed-balls of riffs and vocals that hone in on fury.
The other end of the pole holds different fruits, as Awakening is quite melodic and sticks to the more accessible end of the thrash spectrum. “Death Valley” is an easy-going tune with cleaner passages that are more similar to the classic metal acts; not to mention it’s got cowbell! And I can’t deny the hookiness of the chorus as well as strong solo work in “Salvation.” Despite the heaviness fluctuating, the overall tone stays consistent.
What probably helped this record is the fact that it barely crosses the half-hour mark, cutting any and all bullshit right out. That allows for a refreshing spin, and the fact that the songs themselves are this well-written still impresses me. Old thrashers like Overkill and Death Angel putting out new material is pretty hit-or-miss, but what we have here, is a hit!
Awakening will be released on August 23rd, 2019 through Metal Blade Records. Pick it up physically at the label’s page, or find it digitally on Bandcamp.