23 years since Sacred Reich’s last album, and 13 since their reformation, comes brand new offering Awakening – a gap between records that makes Tool seem productive. Awakening is the American thrash metallers fifth album and sees them return to fertile ground – punk influenced and politically charged, old school thrash metal. It is the sound of their first two LPs, Ignorance and The American Way, but with crisp, modern production.
Awakening is 31 minutes of blistering thrash metal with the opening two tracks going straight for the jugular, the title track with its powerful Pantera like groove and the venomous ‘Divide and Conquer’ with its brutal, lightening fast riffing reminiscent of their 80s peers Testament. By all accounts time has had no effect on Phil Rinds vocals, they are as strong and vital as ever. Not forgetting the welcome return to the fold of Dave McClain after his lengthy stint in Machine Head, whose drumming is brilliant throughout. This is especially the case on ‘Manifest Reality’, providing the backbone to a powerful dose of metal about changing yourself for the better complete with a ferocious Wiley Arnett solo and a bizarre video.
This positivity spreads itself to ‘Salvation’, which is a message of love and hope set to a stomping beat and Maiden-esque twin guitar melodies. This lyrical strength is also evident in the chuga-chug, Joey Radziwill rhythm of ‘Killing Machine’ – a tale of enlisting in the army and the life changing repercussions thereafter. They spice things up toward the end, sneaking in a bit of cowbell in the southern rock earworm that is ‘Death Valley’ and an anthemic, stadium sized chorus in ‘Something to Believe’.
The wait was definitely worth it. Awakening is a punchy and punky offering of thrash metal with big hooks, big riffs, brilliant drumming and fiery solos – thrash as it should be.