Review Summary: Sacred Reich leap from 1993 to 2019 with a complete disregard for anything that has happened in music in between. Thank god for that.
I wasn’t exactly excited when I heard about Sacred Reich releasing a new album, but I was definitely interested – “Don’t Do It, Donnie” almost killed that interest. “Don’t Do It, Donnie” was a terrible song to release after twenty-three years of silence. It was basically a sloppy punk track with an annoyingly repetitive chorus. Fortunately, that one-off track has very little in common with Sacred Reich’s first album of new material since 1996. Awakening
is basically an amalgamation of Sacred Reich’s first three albums combined with a slight punk influence; with nary a single nod to the musical climate of the past two decades.
’s title track kicks things off with a near-equal blend of The American Way
riffs and Independent
songwriting. Overall, it’s a pretty good indication of what to expect since a large majority of the songs pull evenly from The American Way
. This blend results in what is probably one of my favorite songs from Sacred Reich’s discography, “Salvation.” “Salvation” would probably feel most at home on Sacred Reich’s breakout third release, Independent
, because of its mid-tempo delivery and huge catchy chorus, but it is augmented by one of Awakening
’s heaviest riffs on the verses. It’s definitely one of two songs I keep finding myself coming back to – the other being “Killing Machine” which is definitely the most punk-influenced on Awakening
without sounding anything like the terrible “Don’t Do It, Donnie.”
isn’t all mid-tempo metal tracks, though. The band did include a few songs for fans all about Sacred Reich’s no-frills thrash debut. “Divide and Conquer” is the first song to jump into the up-tempo thrash vibe, but even it drops the pace for a more contemporary chorus. “Manifest Reality” and “Revolution” are where the band’s true thrash roots are displayed, and they should satisfy that Ignorance
-style craving even if Awakening
could have used a few more in that style. The one song on Awakening
that doesn’t really feel like a nostalgic throwback is “Death Valley.” Like its name kind of implies, “Death Valley” sounds like the sort of desert rock made famous by bands such as Kyuss, but given the Sacred Reich touch. It’s definitely not my favorite track, but it’s a nice switch about two-thirds of the way through the album.
Interviews with vocalist Phil Rind made it clear the band were just happy to be back together, and it shows. Whether they’re belting out thrash homages or more restrained mid-tempo songs, the feel of the album is absolutely upbeat and almost even positive. Each song feels like the band are just having fun, and that feeling is definitely imparted to the listener. Despite the lack of any real surprises, Awakening
easily stands with anything else Sacred Reich has ever done, and shouldn’t disappoint any longtime fans that are still out there. For those that were too young to experience Sacred Reich back when they were originally active, just be prepared for some early nineties metal with a few songs that move back to a time when no-frills thrash ruled the metal landscape.