[Full set of photos in this Flickr set]
Twenty five years since their first release and sixteen years since their last, Sacred Reich last played the UK when a good portion of this crowd were still half-collections of DNA in separate parents who quite possibly hadn’t even met. OK, maybe not quite that long but not far from it. The last time I saw them in the UK (and the last time I’m aware of them being in the UK) was in 1991, opening for Sepultura on the “Arise” tour.
Sacred Reich are one of those bands that “got away”. While the likes of Metallica and Megadeth were riding a huge thrashing wave, SR and many of their other peers didn’t quite shift the units required to take off on those big world tours. A shame, as Phil Rind and company produced some cracking songs a good selection of which battered the eardrums of the congregated this evening.
Their music is quite politically motivated, covering topics such as commercialism, suicide, warmongering, environmental policy and so forth. Oh, and vampires. They also manage to blend some huge, fast riffs and belting choruses with slow, crushing rhythms and opening chords you can bounce and chant “OI!” to.
I don’t think the band skipped a good song from their (small) catalogue during their 75-minute set. Opening with “Independent” and moving swiftly on to “Love…Hate” before pausing to greet the crowd, Phil (or “Phul” as he’s referred to in Glaswegian) struggled to be heard over the songs and chants. Even with a microphone and a stack of amps, the small venue gave the crowd almost as much volume as the band between songs.
There were no tracks from 1996’s Heal, and “Free” was the only other track from the next most recent (1993) album, Independent. The remainder of the set was from the band’s earliest – and best – two-and-a-half albums.
“I Don’t Know”, “Death Squad”, “Administrative Decision”, and “Crimes Against Humanity” provided some variety, whilst classic thrash/acoustic mash-up “Who’s To Blame” raised the roof as soon as the intro was played.
The only cover of the night, a great version of Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, came towards the end of the set which was rounded off by “American Way” and the superb “Surf Nicaragua” that had the pit thrashing like a rather pissed-off tiger shark.
It’s great still being able to see bands I rocked to back in the 1990’s coming back, still playing the old favourites. Sacred Reich are fairly unusual in that they’re not supporting a new release. Exodus, Testament, Annihilator… are managing to find a tour with a new release here or there. Sacred Reich aren’t. I have no idea how they’re funding this excursion but even if it barely leaves them beer money I’m incredibly grateful they had Glasgow on their itinerary.
A classic set from a classic band. Long may they rock!