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Wolfsburg is among the few German cities that I would describe as ugly and repulsive. It seemed therefore only logical that one of the harshest Teutonic bands originated from this unattractive area. Protector mixed elements of thrash, death and black metal in a skillful way without taking care of genre limitations. This applied to the musical approach, but also to the lyrical mishmash. On the one hand, "Delirium Tremens" and "Germanophobe" dealt with socially critical or political issues. On the other hand, songs such as "Apocalyptic Revelations" offered typical black metal lyrics. In any case, the band released two outstanding full-lengths during the first phase of its activities. "Golem", which is named after a figure from a Jewish legend, is one of them. Although the group did not leave the musical path of the previous EP, "Golem" constituted a quantum leap. The harsh songs were very well received due to their massiveness and sophistication, while the EP had not been able to conceal the fact that it was just a first step into business.
The song material was still fast and furious. But despite these rather chaotic compositions, Protector were able to deliver coherent tracks. They kept an eye on brutality without neglecting characteristic and memorable riffs. While commuting restlessly between mid-tempo and high velocity, the songs offered slightly melodic parts as well as pure musical anarchy. The dark lead vocals were partly supported by gang shouts so that even an element of hardcore was included. With regard to the stylistic diversity, the last track was literally the icing on the cake. "Space Cake" did not only present a duet with Tom Angelripper, it also appeared as an ugly bastard of punk and grindcore. To summarize, the heterogeneous album surprised with a very unusual yet attractive mixture. By the way, this mixture was equipped with a sound that was anything but bad. The howling guitars marked its most outstanding feature.
The band had written some crashing songs that enriched the German underground. You find the highlighs at the beginning of the album. My personal favourite is the devastating "Apocalyptic Revelations", because of its dark atmosphere, the thrilling main riff and the well executed breaks that lead to dynamic tempo changes. But fortunately, Protector did not deliver any throwaway tracks and I still enjoy to listen to each and every song. One got the impression that the band identified completely with their music. Perhaps this was the main reason why the quality of the ten pieces was more or less consistently high. Therefore, if you are interested in the extreme variation of German metal of the eighties, you should give this album a chance. It is no classic in the narrower sense, but due to its unbridled aggression you will have a good time while listening to it.
It's a damn shame that Protector isn't as well-known as their fellow countrymen in Kreator and Sodom, but history has proven that being well-known doesn't make your music better, because I would take "Golem" over albums like "Extreme Aggression," "Tapping the Vein," and "Release From Agony" 10 times out of 10. There's a reason why Protector is adored by many in the metal underground (especially in thrash circles) and that's because their brand of thrash was different from the bestial sounds of their Germanic comrades. This music is deadly, precise and absolutely violent, much moreso than the Bay Area bands of the '80s and plenty of other thrash bands that popped up.
One thing that becomes immediately apparent with Protector and their music are the riffs. Instead of opting for the rape of the E-string and the insertion of some powerchords, a lot of the riffs are ridiculously fast and feature a vast amount of shifting hammer-ons and single notes that make for a lot of headbanging, but also a lot of memorable moments. The riffs on "Delirium Tremens" and "Protector of Death" are fucking maniacal and Hasse's intense drumming only adds to the blistering fury. And proving that they weren't just speed freaks, Protector did a brilliant job of structuring their music and showed some stellar songwriting skills with tracks like "Apocalyptic Revelations" and "Only the Strong Survive," as both start with some pretty epic buildups that eventually morph into an insane assault that have fallen upon many a metalhead's ears.
Everything else on "Golem" is top-notch as well. The aforementioned drumming adds a lot of heft to the music, as well as even more speed. Belichmeier's bass performance is another highlight on this album, as it's always audible and almost seems like another instrument entirely, rather than simply following the guitar patterns. "Germanophobe" is probably the best example of the excellence of the bass on this record and is a prominent reason why it's also my favorite track. Missy's vocals are disgustingly beautiful as well. They're lower in tone than Mille Petrozza's, but not as guttural, yet they're just as diabolical and suit the music perfectly. There's really not much more to say about "Golem" and Protector. This is just a band that makes violent and masterful music that should be fellated by every metalhead.
"Only the Strong Survive"
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
Golem, maybe one of my favorite thrash cds, it’s fast, it’s evil, & it’s got Martin Missy on vocal duties.
Well being the average under the radar thrash group the production is mediocre. It’s not bad enough to distract one from the performance but it’s has it’s flaws here and there. As for the musicianship it’s an enjoyable ride. The guitar work is fast, but not the over the top Slayer-esc fast. And the tempo shifts are an interesting aspect of the guitar work. But this album is riffs-a-plenty, they are jam packed with energy and have a constant chugging sound, but with a slight darkened feel to them. The solos are mostly brief because of the speed put into this but for the most part their amusing. The rhythm section is pretty good, a tad loud though, but not loud enough to be too distracting. It’s mainly the symbols & bass guitar you’ll be hearing. Speaking of the bass, it has a great tone, which I really dig. But the aspect of this record I dig the most is Martin Missy’s vocals. It’s hard to describe his style, it could be described as deep growls, proto-death metal style, mix with deep wails. His style mix with the way he uses it is unheard of, I honestly can’t think of any other vocalist that remotely sounds like Martin. The lyrics to this album are interesting, & are varied, but my favorite is Space Cake which has to be one of the funniest joke songs I heard so far, & I’d definitely recommend getting the version with Space Cake.
Overall Golem is an enjoyable experience with a few faults restraining it from glory, highly recomended-89%.
Well, here you've got it: 39 minutes of solid German thrash: the riff salad characteristic of bands in this genre, low (but not quite growled) vocals, fast drumming, and a complete lack of focus or direction. This album certainly is not bad, but after listening to about 10 minutes of it (note that I denote the passage of time in minutes instead of songs), I began to realize just how monotonous and unvaried it was. Riffs here, riffs there - you know the story, and if all you seek in music is riff-wankery, then this is the album for you. If, however, you desire some sort of focus, generalized theme, or something beyond the superficial sound of the music, pick up something else. These songs could really be about anything, and I wouldn't know the difference - the growled vocals resemble Sodom somewhat, but stay at that same timbre throughout the entire album. Gang vocals are utilized occasionally, but fail to change the (lack of) mood. The drums are not too impressive, either - they seem to be serving their standard role: not bad or outstanding, but just keeping the rhythm. The entire album is played at about the same speed - fast - but not fast enough to make any lasting impression with their speed.
There certainly are quite a few catchy riffs on here, such as on "Omnipresent Aggression" and "Apocalyptic Revelations," and the intro to "Megalomania" is very well done (with the drums pounding ominously in the background as a simple solo is shredded), setting up the song well. It goes nowhere from there, though, once again reverting to the construction of any other song on the album. The other solos on this album are worthy of mention as well, and resemble death metal more than thrash, with scales being played seemingly randomly.
In conclusion, individual songs from this album (such as on a mix, or on the radio) would definitely be pleasant to hear. The problem is that when all ten are combined on an album, each loses its charm, and the whole thing becomes boring.
This is music for the sake of music at its finest - no focus, no theme, no unifying philosophy, just riffs and growls. If you are a thrash fan, buy it and drool all over it. If you want some depth or even variety in your music, don't bother with it.
As the first riff comes in you understand exactly what you are listening too, and that is a Modernized German Thrash with Death elements, quite simply and nothing more (but really could you want anything else, as I really dont). In the very least, this is well played, tight as fuck, skull pounding, killer metal with a less than ultra clear production, and a sound reminiscent of better Metal times.
Also one must give praise to the cover, cause its pretty god damn cool in its originality. Not the greatest, but fucking cool.
The harmonies, solos, riffs, runs, what ever, you name it. Its all here and played to a masterfull degree. Protector, straight out surpass many other thrash bands for their songs, which are very well written, well structured, and head banging marathons of brilliance, albeit not the most melodic (but alot of great German thrash isnt). I'd also recommend whiping a few back before throwing this on, as it enhances ones experience, for you know I have. There are many different tempos, and style changes on here (guitar wise) that just stand out, and define the bad as classic thrash metal gods. Also the guitar tone is a great aspect of this band which would at the very least add to their unique sound.
Most vocals are in a deeper, not quite death metal, like german voice of hate, but fit the music nicely due to the well arranged patterns/lyrics. Fairly original, its definitely fitting for the sound, and offers me nothing to dislike even if there is a highly standard format to the style of delivery.
While not very well known out side of true fans to the genre, those that are familiar will tell you just how killer this band was at this time period, as inaddition to their carreer (seeing this shit live must have been truelly something else). Also of note, this record has had its influence on many, and even if not largely received as such it still has a rightfull place.
If you are a fan of old school Thrash, Death, and Speed Metal in its pure sound than you will inevitably enjoy this release, for it holds true to its genre more than most will ever hope to achieve (which is something that must be appreciated). Fuck off to all contenders this is the way it should be.
Hail German Fucking Metal!!!