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In 1984, another band would hop onto the German thrash train, known as Grinder. While they never had any commercial success, they put out three full lengths before changing their name. But before any of those, we had Sirens. Though it's musically a pretty straightforward release, nothing on here is considerably mind-blowing. It's about as basic as thrash metal can get, and it lacks much speed or vocal range alike. The vocals seem like they're borrowing influence from Sacred Reich, but it doesn't have that natural edge to it. There doesn't seem to be much force behind the voice either. While the guitar playing is pretty solid, the riffs don't have a lot of variation, and become boring rather quickly. It's mostly just chugging with a little bit of fret movement here and there. The solos are definitely pretty respectable, but don't make up for it. The drum work is plain and simple, and don't play a huge role here.
The one track that stands out a little bit is "Traitor", as it picks up the aggression, and makes up for the weaker output of the other tracks. But it still lacks variation if riff work, and you end up right back where you started once you're about two minutes in. Also, listen to the first 40 seconds of "To Dethrone The Beast". It sounds dangerously close to the intro of Overkill's "Overkill". Sirens is worth a listen, but that's about it.
For those familiar with the works of Grinder, they never were a band capable of much innovation, but instead chose to admire their peers through imitation, bringing only the uniqueness of a decidedly American approach to the German thrash scene. Mostly imitating the composition style of Sacred Reich and "Bay Area" thrash metal with their song structures and pacing on this demo, the band would later speed up some of the songs here for inclusion on their first full-length for No Fashion Records, titled "Dawn for the Living". While those songs had the speed and bite of German contemporaries like Blind Guardian and Angel Dust, they surely do not here, and sound more like the stunted pacing and playing of bands such as late-eighties era Exodus.
The production is the one thing worth noting, however. As can be expected with most cassette demos of this age still surviving, the one this review is based on has quite a bit of decay and hiss, but through all that is quite a more professional sound than one can reasonably expect from something home-brewed like self-released demo, and if cleaned up and released, could have been used as a debut EP of sorts. I shouldn't go without mentioning that I'm glad they didn't, because the versions of tracks later used on the their debut are in weaker form here, so it may have given less sympathetic ears the wrong impression.
Overall, this tape is more listenable and nicely crafted than one might expect from a demo made in this time period, but marred by less exciting versions of songs by a band that was fairly mediocre to begin with, and ever the slightest derivative. I suggest starting with the first proper release, as at least they had the benefit of a production by Kalle Trapp (Assassin, Blind Guardian, Pestilence, Destruction), and had at that point quickened and tightened their sound enough to make their material stand tall, if not actually compete, with other German acts in their respective scene at the time. If anything it shows that no amount of polish can make weak songs sound good, but at least it can give them enough luster for others to see potential in the band that created them.