Review Summary: Even after the Big 4, Thrash still continues on.
Phil Rind – vocals, bass
Wiley Arnett – guitar
Jason Rainey – guitar
Greg Hall – drums
Recorded and released in 1987
Metal Blade Records
It was clear that, in the 90's and beyond, Sacred Reich weren't exactly on the top of the world. But things were running smoothly for Reich in their first five years. An up and coming thrash group from the heart of Phoenix, Arizona (Hey, I live there), was formed by vocalist / bassist Phil Rind and drummer Greg Hall in 1985. They later contacted guitarist Wiley Arnett (ex-Gravity) and their secondary guitarist Jason Rainey. Their style of metal was generally thrash metal, but the lyrical topic would be political. So, in a matter of a few short months, Reich's debut thrash classsic, Ignorance, was then released, in a style referred to as Political Metal.
When comparing it to the other big thrash albums, such as Among the Living and Peace Sells... Who's Buying?, Sacred Reich's debut was the biggest show of that thrash certainly left an influence. It has all the elements that made thrash into what it is: differing song lengths, blazing fast, rough solos, and some really raw vocals. And this accomplishes that. Rind's vocals are very deep and lightning-quick. The guitar riffs are majorly aggressive, but not all the time original. And the crushing drum beats are set at a fast pace. Out of most thrash metal albums released later on (excluding the Big 4), Sacred Reich comes closer to the true roots of thrash that most others.
Considering how quickly the album was made at Track Record (which, ironically, Gravity was recording there at the same time), you'd think the production would be really overdated. In some ways, it is. You can hear every mess-up in the album, and the bass is virtually nonexistent. Drums overpower the guitar, and sometimes vice versa. It clearly demonstrates a band still up and coming, and the need for an album to be released. However, the need for a quick recording (unlike Metallica's Kill 'Em All, which could really use an entire remastering) is not what this thrash album needs: it needs some serious editing.
That being said, it all depends on how much you like thrash. Ignorance is a very moving title: it's one of the most political albums I've ever heard, but there's always negative and positive aspects to each song. Their later albums, The American Way and Surf Nicaragua, are probably better introductions, from the viewpoint of a more experienced band, but Ignorance is far better than any work after those two. I would definitely consider this a real buy: it's heavy, fast, and ironic (the title alone is pure irony). At least give it a digital download: it could really surprise you.
Though each track has positive and negative aspects to them, I'd say either Death Squad
or the title track come closest.