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Let Your Hearts be Gripped by "Metal Revolution"! - 90%

bayern, December 21st, 2011

This effort is one of the five catchiest speed/thrash metal effort ever created. Its appeal has reached all the way from the mid-80's to the present day without losing anything from its impulsive, spontaneous charm. Seldom can a speed/thrash metal album make you stand up and jump around singing along with the band right up to the end not caring whether you know the exact lyrics. The catchy side of the band's style was already obvious on their raw, naive, but strangely compelling, debut which, if for not much else, introduced this unique hellish banshee of a singer, Thorsten "Toto" Bergmann. Listening to him singing abour love (another pretty characteristic feature of the band) in the mid-80's, many dames and damsels around Europe and beyond must have had their hearts molten (and also gripped!), the man screaming out heart-rending love lines under the incessant speedy guitar barrage to a fairly "romantic" effect. I'm pretty sure there must have been quite a few grooms out there at those times who were hesitant whether to invite Mr. Bergman to sing a few lines on their proposal day to enhance the atmosphere, pouring emotions over their prospective bride, which would either bind the new couple for life, or would split them apart like the South and the North Pole.

This album was a major step forward for the band, both music and vocal wise, without sacrificing anything from their initial prime direct, charmingly flawed, approach. With a much better production, a much more expressive guitar sound, and a much more confident Bergman behind the mike, it threw a steady bridge between the more speed metal-based style of acts like Helloween, Running Wild and Warrant, and the more aggressive thrashy delivery of "the holy three" (well, you know them!). Sharing both the more proficient execution of the former, and the more intense riffage of the latter, "Metal Revolution" sat comfortably in the middle, and the band could have been just fine occupying that niche if the guitar "wizards" (not at that time yet) Frank Fricke and Reiner Kelch hadn't at some stage decided that they had to produce some of the most puzzling, complicated musical landscapes on the scene both with their main band and Mekong Delta...

Anyway, for some this effort remains the band's finest hour, so well conformed with the tastes of the time, that even the shaky debuts of Kreator and Sodom, or Running Wild's already repetitive and clumsy "Branded & Exiled", released around the same period, couldn't come anywhere near its inspired, simple but fairly effective, sure-handed approach. Singing along with, and also trying to imitate the apocalyptic semi-screams/semi-shouts of Bergman must have been a favourite pastime for many a speed/thrash metal fan in the mid-80's, the infectious choruses of "Grippin' a Heart", "Rulers Must Come", "Screaming from a Chamber", and even the radio-friendly closer "Deep in Hell", ripping the air on quite a few festivals around Europe at the time. The Fricke/Kelch "duels" are still at a more basic stage, producing nothing intricate, just bashing with vigour and passion, getting more lyrical on occasion on the slower, more laid-back material. Bergman is in full swing all over sounding like a more aggressive and hysterical version of Udo, and it's probably the last time when his performance would overshadow the other musicians having in mind the more engaging musical direction the band took just a year later.

"Metal revolutiion" in its literal application was hardly on display here, but the period was not very demanding back then, and Living Death were a perfect fit into the speedy, merry-go-round, picture with their unpretentious uplifting delivery with a genuine catchy potential, seldom captured so spontaneously before or after. For those who got (and still are) enamored by their progressive/technical infatuations, which started very soon after this effort's release (remember the "Back to the Weapons" EP), and have never tried their early output out, would be advised to "sink", at least for once, into this cool slab of the good old speed/thrash, and try to learn a trick or two from Mr. Bergman and Co. about how to "grip the hearts" of women, and more.