Review Summary: Sacred Reich's most politically driven record to date.
Sacred Reich is a thrash metal band hailing from Phoenix Arizona. They are one of many thrash bands to come up during the so-called second wave of thrash, having formed in 1985. Often noted for their politically charged lyrics and heavy slayer-esque form of thrash, the band found moderate success in the late 80's and early 90's. This release in particular catapulted the band to the fore-front of thrash when it was in full swing in the early 90's, right before grunge exploded and heavy metal in general was in decline.
Sacred Reich has always distanced themselves from the majority of thrash bands by adding politically charged messages to their songs, and this album is no exception. From taking shots at their own countries faults, to songs of apartheid in Africa, the band definitely had a message they wanted to be heard. This album contains some of the bands most politically charged and bitter material to date. It is quite refreshing to step away from the self absorbed lyrics of other bands and artists, and hear someone speaking of things that actually matter. However, strong subject matter mean nothing if the music is not strong, but this is not the case. The music found on "The American Way" is very aggressive and intense. Although the music may seem pretty tame in comparison to the brutal thrash metal assault found on "Ignorance", the band decided that a change in sound was needed with concern towards their 1990 release. Instead the band decided to play a broader form of heavy metal, slowing down their sound considerably. This is a gamble though, as loud and extremely fast thrash is what made these guys so enjoyable to fans in the past. Despite all of this, the band still comes out swinging, with blazing riff driven and energetic material that is hard to not enjoy and bang you heard to. Some tracks are prime examples of what makes Scared Reich so great, but others fall flat, failing to make an impression. The albums also seem to drag in spots, particularly with the opener "Love...Hate". However the positives largely outweigh the negatives in respects to songwriting, musicianship and attitude.
The band was also able to keep the producer of their first album, Bill Metoyer. Metoyer has worked with bands like Slayer, Atrophy, D.R.I. and Flotsam and Jetsam. Just from that part of his resume, one can assume he knows what he’s doing with metal recordings, and he helped give this album its signature heavy sound. The record is very heavy and has been mixed well, because every instrument can be heard clearly and sounds great. Another thing this record has going for it, is the improved vocals from Phil Rind. In this release, Phil Rind’s vocals are now more audible and easier to understand. The Guitar work is also very heavy and enjoyable to listen to because of the many blazing riffs and shredding solos. And to top it all off, the drums are tight, and the bass is pretty audible and grooving. The band truly knew what the fans wanted, and they delivered with skill and finesse.
Although the band did slow down a bit, one can still find some quality Sacred Reich here. The band proves with this release that a change in sound is not always a bad thing. Although I personally prefer their debut, this record is still a great release from a solid band. Fans will enjoy this; however I will always point newcomers toward the band's debut, "Ignorance".
- The American Way
- Crimes Against Humanity
- State of Emergency
Phil Rind - vocals, bass
Wiley Arnett - guitar
Jason Rainey - guitar
Greg Hall - drums
Produced by: Bill Metoyer, Sacred Reich
Engineered by: Bill Metoyer, Scott Campbell
Released: May 15, 1990
Label: Metal Blade/Roadracer Records