Album Review: Sacred Reich – Awakening

It would be an understatement to say this album is one of the most anticipated releases of 2019. Primarily touring since their initial return in 2006, Sacred Reich have finally returned to the studio with Awakening. The first full length album since 1996’s Heal, Awakening is certain to satiate the long-time desire of many fans for new Sacred Reich bangers.

The title track opens the album with a barrage of choppy punk-thrash riffing that’s bound to get the headbanging instantly after pressing the play button. Follow-up “Divide and Conquer” brings a much anticipated dose of speed in the verses with an incredibly hooky chorus riff. An awesome shredding solo and NWOBHM-esque harmonies later leads into the swinging grooves of “Salvation”. The trend of hooky riffing continues underlining the hopeful and upbeat lyrics: “Washed in positivity / It is clear for all to see / Love will always be the way / The time is now, we’re here to say…”

Given Sacred Reich’s penchant for political and socially conscious lyrics, it’s refreshing to hear more uplifting writing in thrash metal – especially given today’s turbulent times. “Manifest Reality” is the “thrashiest” song on the album with it’s relentless pace and darker tone, though the inspirational lyrics remain in the “Be the change you want to see” refrain. The riffs on Awakening are simple but effective, with every song having several catchy moments that hook from the first listen. More stomping ideas come in the chugging “Killing Machine” and swinging heavy rock grooves of “Death Valley”.

The closing duo of blistering punk rager “Revolution” and rocking anthem “Something to Believe” make for a satisfying end to the album. Awakening feels the perfect length with no filler, and it makes you want to play it on repeat and headbang along to those infectious riffs again and again.

Sacred Reich’s newest LP, Awakening, is a good, straightforward metal album with plenty of diversity. The band is performing on point, with each member having standout moments. Guitarists Wiley Arnett and Joey Radziwill are shredding throughout the album, Dave McClain kills on the kit with pounding beats and rumbling fills, and frontman Phil Rind adds catchy vocal hooks in every song. Production-wise, the album is mixed well with each element balanced perfectly. The drums have plenty of punch while the bass rumbles above adding a heavy weight to the biting guitars. However if you’re looking for the next Ignorance, you will be disappointed. The high velocity rage against the system is the one element of Sacred Reich Awakening is lacking in. However, the more stripped-back and accessible approach musically feels better suited to the positive lyrical ideas. 

Overall Awakening is a solid album showcasing the different sides of Sacred Reich, all compacted into 8 killer songs of insanely catchy metal. It’s certain get the head banging, and the fans shouting along when the new songs invade the live setlist. In the meantime on tour, Sacred Reich are sure to spread an awesome message of hope with Awakening – even in the often dark world of heavy metal, you can’t disagree with that. 

Awakening is available now via Metal Blade Records.

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