Here’s the long-awaited comeback for classic thrashers SACRED REICH. You knew it was coming, you just didn’t know when. This band sure had their moments (mostly Ignorance and Surf Nicaragua), but they never really broke through to the top tier level many thought they could reach. Their later albums like Heal were downright boring. Awakening features all of the classic SACRED REICH elements you would expect, but much like back in the day, it is just not a blow away record.
One thing’s for sure, they don’t overstay their welcome. Awakening is a very brisk 31 minutes and change, consisting of 8 songs none of which exceeds five minutes in length. This is a good call, because I don’t think this band is made for rambling epics or hour long albums. The songs are punchy and easy to get into, with tight riffs and “chug” tempo thrash metal. Phil Rind sounds great here. He’s always had a great distinctive voice and really this could be his best vocal performance. The lyrics are easy to make out; speaking of which, the REICH has maintained their left wing lyrical bent. If you were looking for a change there, you’re out of luck. This band has been political since Day One and this is no different. I’m all for it, myself. The choruses are really snappy and catchy here, another REICH trademark.
I like the faster, thrashier tunes such as ‘Divide And Conquer’, ‘Manifest Reality’ and ‘Killing Machine’. I could never understand thrash bands that ease up on the aggression. Unfortunately, by the end of the album the band has lapsed into the slower, more mediocre style that we got on Heal. ‘Death Valley’ is a bluesy cut that’s utterly forgettable and final cut ‘Something To Believe’ is a wet fizzle when the album should have ended on a furious note.
Much like in their heyday, SACRED REICH come up with some fun and hooky tunes but just can’t match the SLAYERs and EXODUSes of the world. Old fans should love this, though.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality
3.5 / 6