Review Summary: Sacred Reich’s final studio album shows a band aging well, despite years of sporadic activity.
By 1996, Sacred Reich was one of the last second tier thrash bands still together. Years of poor albums sales and less than acceptable label support had led to thrash metal’s ultimate demise, with many thrash bands calling it quits and disbanding. Sacred Reich on the other hand, still had some good material left in them for those few who stayed loyal throughout those turbulent years.
Upon first listen, the listener is pummeled with explosive and brutal riffing accompanied by fast and ferocious drumming. It would seem that Sacred Reich still maintained some of that energy from back in the day, with lively and aggressive performances reminding one of the band’s early material. Riffing has always been one of Sacred Reich’s strong points, and that does not change here, with memorable and catchy riffing displayed in many of the tracks. The rhythm section is also another strong point, with stellar drumming that goes beyond keeping the tempo, providing intricate and varied fills, accompanied by an audible and grooving bass. The album manages to be a much more consistent affair than the bands last outing, with good track listing and adequate production enhancing the already solid instrumental recordings.
The albums contains some fairly aggressive and fast thrash on songs like the opener ‘Blue suit, Brown Shirt” and the closer “The Power of the Written Word”. These songs showcase the bands roots, and let the listener know that The Reich is still just as heavy if not heavier than they were in the 80’s. However, the band also has a more modernized and groove driven sound displayed on tracks such as the title track “Heal” and “Low”. Other than the pointless “Jason’s Idea” there is no filler here. Each song brings something crucial to the albums overall sound and style. Most of these songs work together, offering more variation to the album and keeping the listener interested, although some thrash purist may cry foul considering some of The Reich’s earlier material.
With such variation and musical prowess, it is hard to find any real fault with this album. Perhaps the one real weakness to be found in this album is the vocals. Phil Rind has never exactly been a singer. The man’s vocal performance consists of loud and deep yells thrown over explosive riffs, nothing more, and nothing less. Considering the genre if this music, this is almost to be expected. Other than the vocals, there is no real issue hear. If you’re metal head you will dig it, if not then look somewhere else.
All in all, Heal is a solid album and a welcome addition to any metal head’s collection. The Reich held up better than many of their thrash counterparts, with the band still sticking to their roots and offering fresh new material simultaneously. Unfortunately, this album stands to date as the last studio recording of the band’s career thus far, but what an excellent final offering it is.