Sacred Reich – Re-issues

Sacred Reich – Re-issues
Ignorance/Surf Nicaragua/The American Way

Sacred Reich – Re-issues
Ignorance/Surf Nicaragua/The American Way
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 42:33/26:03/56:00
Review by Simon Black
9/10
10/10
8/10

Sacred Reich are one of those influential second wave Thrash bands who for some reason never become as huge as their initial direction of travel indicated and were buried by the 1990’s. After a twenty-three year gap, 2019 saw the release of the aptly titled ‘The Awakening’ and pretty darn good to hear from them again after all this time it was too. Not to let a little thing like a total stoppage of all things live get in the way of their revival plans, Metal Blade have decided to re-release those seminal first three releases from the late 80’s for a wider audience so people can see what all the fuss was about. I don’t think I ever caught these guys live first time round, but I certainly still have vinyl from back in the day and the chance to hear these beauties cleaned up and remastered for this decade was not one I was going to turn down the opportunity to share my thoughts on with you lovely people.

“Ignorance” is where this all really started as their first full album back in 1987, and is probably just as politically relevant in this post-Trump world as it was when it was originally released. Just to hammer the point home, vocalist Phil Rind recently made it quite clear that supporters of the orange one are not welcome. I don’t think anything summarises this band better than the blistering anger of the title track, the absolute art of blistering shredding that is ‘Rest In Peace’ and the slab-like heaviness of album opener ‘Death Squad’, the first few bars of which probably best define 2nd Wave Thrash for me in those opening two minutes of ruthless technical efficiency. It was brilliant then, and it’s still brilliant and relevant now.

“Surf Nicaragua” from that tongue in cheek whistle of descending bomb madness introduction the title track of this EP, was actually the first song I ever heard from these guys way back when. With its thrash pastiche of the Surfaris ‘Wipe Out’ this is pure late 80’s Thrash irreverence with a loaded political back bite at its best. Anthrax gave us the Bermuda shorts, these guys gave us a song to wear them to. It was a guaranteed mosh pit raiser when I used to DJ and it sounds just as fun then as now and suddenly I feel 18 again. To be fair this EP was all about this song, rather than the covers and live fillers that follow, and it did a huge amount to raise their profile at the time, even if it did convince most people that these guys were from Florida or California instead of Phoenix, Arizona, but then that sort of misdirection is rather the whole point of what they are about politically. It’s worth buying for this track alone, and the remaster cleans it up beautifully whilst losing none of the freshness that made it work so well in 1988.

“The American Way” is politically far more forward and clear in its intent. It’s also a more mature and in many ways richer release than its two predecessors. At the time I was less impressed with its measured delivery, but thirty years later I can appreciate that it was ahead of its time in many ways – although it’s still nowhere near as infectiously catchy as “Ignorance” or balls out (hanging slightly out of the trouser leg of the Bermuda shorts) as “Surf Nicaragua”. The Information Age has come and gone since this was released, and the oft-ridiculed PMRC (the subject of the classic ‘Who’s To Blame’) may be political history now, but the underlying trend of conservatism that these liberal Thrashers loathe makes this just as relevant in the Disinformation Age.

This does not feel like a cash-in situation as more of a pertinent reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. These albums strike me as just as relevant and enjoyable as they were originally and it’s been an absolute treat to revisit them again. You know what to do…

TRACKLISTINGS:
Ignorance (1987)
01. Death Squad
02. Victim Of Demise
03. Layed To Rest
04. Ignorance
05. No Believers
06. Violent Solutions
07. Rest In Peace
08. Sacred Reich
09. Administrative Decisions
10. Ignorance (Metal Massacre VIII)

Surf Nicaragua (1988)
01. Surf Nicaragua
02. One Nation
03. War Pigs
04. Draining You Of Life
05. Ignorance (Live)
06. Death Squad (Live)

The American Way (1990)
01. Love…Hate
02. The American Way
03. The Way It Is
04. Crimes Against Humanity
05. State Of Emergency
06. Who’s To Blame
07. I Don’t Know
08. 31 Flavors

LINE-UP:
Phil Rind – Bass/Vocals
Wiley Arnett – Lead Guitar
Jason Rainey – Rhythm Guitar
Greg Hall – Drums

LINKS:

Sacred Reich Re-issues

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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