Saturday, March 20, 2010


2010 reissue of this minor thrash classic. Circa 1993 the title track was tearing up the airwaves and for an up and coming metaller like myself such a harsh statement of defiance was the sweetest song in the world. I've searched high and low for this album since then and have never run cross it used or new, so kudos to Displeased for making it available once again. Sacred Reich were one of the tightest of all thrash metal bands, second only to Megadeth or Metallica round about the time of "Justice." They were masters of the start/stop ultra-nervous cocaine blitz of frenetic energy that thrash metal veered towards at its outer limits and even today there are few bands that can boast such a ridiculously pinpointed precision. Sonically Sacred Reich were an obvious precursor (or maybe contemporary/inspiration) to Pantera; sometimes it's difficult to discern whether singer Phil Rind is really Phil Anselmo or vice versa. Either way, Sacred Reich could shred with the best of them even if their creativity left a little to be desired.
"Independent" was released well into the Reich's career as well as at the tail-end of the thrash metal movement, when really only the old guard were left standing (albeit in the shadows.) According to Phil Rind at this point SR were trying to expand their sound and try different things. Whether that was a wise move is still in question, but there are some absolute ragers on this album that hold up against anything in the band's earlier catalogue. Like i said earlier, the title track totally SLAYS-it's a simple two riff masterwork pumped full of adrenalized aggression and a distaste for all modernity-when this thing came screaming out of the speakers last night i found myself pulled to my feet by some otherwordly force to start air-drumming and air-guitaring with reckless abandon. It's a really fun, energetic track full of sweet, sweet nostalgic memory for me and i fucking love it. Your results may vary.
The rest of the album falls somewhere beneath. There are other great thrashers, like "Pressure," "Prduct," and "Do It," but there are also some agonizingly slow and boring tracks like "Crawling" and the sorry attempt at power-balladeering "I Never Said Goodbye." The latter was an avenue that Sacred Reich should NEVER have chosen to explore and it reeks of cornball cheesiness and tired, rote chord progressions. Phil Rind isn't the singer that Phil Anselmo is either, so he probably just should have left that one on the cutting room floor.
Displeased fleshes out this reissue with five bonus tracks, two of which are pretty cool punk covers; the Reich sound fucking inspired tearing through Fear's "Let's Have A War" and the Subhumans' "The Big Picture". Both songs are so high energy they're perfect fits for Sacred Reich's inhumanly precise and fast thrash delivery methods (and any band that covers Fear is on their way to being okay in my book.) The other two are B-Side tracks, neither of which are terrible. "A Question" is chunky, quasi-progressive riffing repeated ad-infinitum while "Who's To Blame" is an almost amusing commentary on the endless war against heavy metal's terrible influence on the kids (remember, this was 1993.) The final track is a worthless radio edit of "Crawling", giving you a shorter version of a song that was already bad in its original form. Giving you less of it doesn't make it any less awful.
For me, this is an album from my formative days and i'm really happy to have it back. It's not a metal milestone, but it's fast enough and totally worth it just for the title track. It's full of awesome guitar solos, too.

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