Published Aug 22, 2019It's been almost a quarter of a century since Sacred Reich released an album, but the band never fully went away — they toured consistently and put out Live at Wacken in the meantime — so it's genuinely interesting that they would pick this moment to drop Awakening. Hell, new rhythm guitarist Joey Radziwill wasn't even born yet when Heal came out in 1996. What could they be hiding up their sleeves?
Sacred Reich have certainly spared no expense with this one. Roping in metal's new super-producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Code Orange, Tomb Mold), they've put out something worthy of their long legacy. Awakening is OG thrash of the purest kind — nothing we didn't hear plenty of between 1985 and 1995, but it's rewarding to hear the old classics now and again. Listeners who cranked Testament and Death Angel's last few records should already be on their way to the record store.
Awakening's opening title track sums up everything nicely, with a meaty main riff and long outro that will sound great on the inevitable tour. The industrial intro to "Manifest Reality" is the closest Sacred Reich get to experimenting (though some of this might be Arthur Rizk's idea), but the best cut has to be "Killing Machine." Phil Rind's falsetto voice may be painfully dated and not as clear as it once was, but on this track he manages to reach deep inside and pull off one of his all-time best performances.
Awakening isn't going to change anyone's life, but Sacred Reich sound like they're having fun, and on thrash records like this one, that can be worth its weight in gold. (Metal Blade)