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Protector’s first release is definitely one of the most outstanding EPs ever released in the history of metal. There’s many other extended-plays that offered something remarkable, from both American and European bands from those glorious old times, and we all have our favorites. But nobody else did something so incredibly harsh in that small short format, in only 6 tracks. Protector made a difference from the very first beginning of their career from the many great bands back then. If you listen to this, then you will know what I mean. What you will in this EP might surprise you if you’re not used to the mid-80’s extreme Teutonic brutality and, apart from these guys, there were other German thrashers who did great stuff but didn’t reach this high level.
The EP starts with a silly keyboard atmosphere intro and a distorted voice, but once that is over you’d better get ready to headbang like never ever before. The band attack extraordinarily violent with totally devastating riffs, hooks, incessant blast-beats and those grotesque vocals that will make you shiver and shake immediately. Speed, aggression and brutality is what this is all about, straight raw compositions of terminal velocity and proper skills. I must insist on the speed of these tracks, which is absolutely insatiable, insane and pure energy. These guys were pioneers on combining characteristics from thrash, death and even hardcore because there’s a lot of attitude here. It’s obvious they listened to what Slayer, Exodus, Voivod, Venom or D.R.I. did back then (as you can see in the band t-shirts they wore in those good old times). The influence of those bands sound is notable on the killer riffs, the alterations on them, the crucial bridges and breaks, even on the pickin’ parts that show the fascination of guitarist Hansi Müller for the combo King-Hanneman. Each tune with no exception is a rough display of instrumental brilliance and sadistic intensity, not only a bunch of senseless unfocused noise that is leading nowhere. The admirable song-structures and hyperactive tempo changes require that ability and agility to play extremenly fast and these musicians are professional enough to sound convincing all the time. As I mentioned before, these numbers feature a collection of riffs that the group modifies constantly along with the rhythm, and some get quieter for a second. “Kain And Abel”, for instance, is plenty of solid low-tuned dark weighty riffing, which makes Protector’s sound get sinister and versatile.
There’s no doubt about it, not even Protector themselves would reach this unique memorable aggression and violence later. The band is in a state of grace, particularly the destructive execution of hungry crushing riffing by Mr.Müller going wild and uncontrolled, as usual. He tries to perform the solos as fast as possible with decent results, with not many pedal and whammy-bar predictable effects. Some of his guitar lines are quite basic, at times primitive and poor but effective for the nature of these compositions. The vocals are one of the most distinctive elements of this band. Missy’s voice is very disgusting and disturbing, perfect for this music. In the first tracks he didn’t seem to develop his vocal tone yet into his death guttural growling, he sounds like Mem Von Stein or Mille on their early work. However, in the last songs of the EP his voice is completely unleashed and deep, rivalizing seriously with Becerra or Schuldiner. The drum work of an inspired Michael Hasse is marvelous, magnificent and I don’t mean it’s technical or surprising at all; he controls and dominates the double bass-drum beatings with perfection and skills and that’s something that deserves some recognition compared with the incompetence of some of his peers. I got shocked when I first listened to those outrageous frantic blast beats of precision and ability, so admirable. And what about the bass? Well, what did you expect? We couldn’t ask much from a low-budget production and mixing, so no bass can be heard because guitars and vocals take all attention. Once again, Protector got a bad production that didn’t affect significantly the wonderful final result of the EP, it rather provided the sound of an unpolished dirty climax.
So no, this is not one of those generic dumb EPs with 3 or 4 new songs and the rest a few live bootleg sound quality fillers or unnecessary covers. These are 6 immense merciless fresh death/thrash cuts that show no mercy, compassion or weakness at all. Pure energy, bestiality and fine skills, in the brutal Teutonic way. The best beginning possible for this group that never gets the credits it deserves. I still wonder how such a superb release like this could remain so underrated and ignored while other got all attention and recognition. If you enjoy sonic violence and insane headbanging as much as I do, here you got a delightful lot of fun and amusement.
Let me start by pointing out that Protector is one of my preferred thrash bands on this planet, what makes them great? Well we have some of the most consistent instrument playing that the thrash scene has ever seen! Starting with the persistent vocals of Martin Missy and the pounding drumming of Michael Hasse. This band is a rush of adrenaline down your system I don't care who you are, you will feel like headbanging, pitting, or just going out to destroy your local city. Simply put if there was a thrash revolution against the world, you can bet Protector would be leading the way with their violence and blasphemy. Another thing you will notice is the production of the EP, as well as all the other earlier releases by this juggernaut, is that they have this perfect feel that is like they invented low gutter sounding recording which is not the case but this is truly what they make it sound like.
There are only two reasons why this EP did not get a higher rating from me and they are the very misleading and un-impressive cover and the first song named after the EP. First I'll explain why I don't understand why they would pick such a weak artwork to accompany such great music, the artwork has nothing relating to the true mentality of misanthropy as well as depicting what looks to be a cross? I mean coming from pissed off German blasphemers they could have done way better in the vein of the artwork for "Leviathan's Desire" or even "Golem", but in the end it is truly the music that makes this so great but it's a shame fellow thrash fans would not pick this up because of the shitty cover. Second is the first song, it does not serve as a nearly good enough intro for what is such a fast and brutally aggressive EP, the vocals sound weak compared to later songs and the guitar riffs seem scattered all over the place, the drumming is semi-solid but it just seems like a song to close the album so that the listener would not care as he/she has just heard some of the best death/thrash they have ever heard.
Besides those two concerns, this EP is extremely diverse which is shown from contrasting songs like "The Mercenary" to story-like song "Kain And Abel". The lyrics are of an admirable violent and hateful nature, dealing with the desire to destroy anyone in your way and how one thinks only for personal benefit. The riffs are amazing as well, done expertly by Hansi Muller, he shows off his ability best in my opinion on the song "Kain And Abel" where the slow paced and dragging melody keeps you entertained as the vocals deliver the intense story of total rebellion towards all that tries to control you. But in my opinion the most catchy chorus on here is that found on the song "Agoraphobia", it reminds me a bit of how Sean Killian of Vio-lence just made everything flow on "Eternal Nightmare" it's those kind of vocals that really take a thrash band to a whole new level. I also must mention the great closer track "Holocaust" which is such a mix of all the great things the album has to offer into one song, the bass done by Belichmeier rises to the surface here and leads the song the whole way through, truly a great song. I admire the fact that this band knows how to share the spotlight and gives each member a time to show off their ability, they make it work superbly to their advantage.
Personal songs that stood out? Well all of them, besides the first track which does not disappoint but doesn't compare to the feel of the other 5 tracks. This is definitely among my highest recommendations for anyone who is serious about knowledge of true 80's thrash.
“…eyes that say so many words but the lips are closed…”
You’ll throw this on and think it rumbles along like equally mirthless Necrovore that’s traded some wayward rpms for a few thimbles of vague flexibility. Then you realize you’re playing it on 33 like a jerk off. Anyway, on the right speed this ep with the fits-like-a-wetsuit title is an antipode to ‘fun’ thrash, six songs of Eastern Bloc damnation wrecking havoc with a demolition ball smeared in the rotten-toothed majesty of elemental death metal. Influences? Tell me you’re retarded and I’ll forgive you. It’s ’87 in the fatherland and the ocean of inspiration black and salty swirls with an eddy as big as Mustaine’s ego (no, there isn't any Megadeth influence here). Throw in some Canadian Slaughter velocity, tape-traded Morbid Angel and Des Exult, a little Possessed, a few of the more brazen Brazilian imports, and don’t forget these guys http://www.metal-archives.com/band.php?id=6728.
Mystery does not cloud Misanthropy; it’s as point blank and undisguised as the last bad guy in a horror flick. These songs sting with more downright death metal ambition than, say, those of countrymates Exumer or Necronomicon, but can be heard flying parallel to Sodom’s Obsessed by Cruelty. Any kind of jovial banter or buffoonery…y’know, the kind nowhere near “Mercenary”, “Holy Inquisition” or “Holocaust”…lie strapped to Iron Angel/debut-era Onslaught torture devices.
While much of the velocity is mostly do-or-die in attitude, the foursome show some stiff-armed flexibility, blocky rest areas where dirge-like melody sneers under the cowls of “Kain and Abel” and “Agoraphobia”. Consequentially, Helloween have nothing to worry about in this respect.
Despite their slow n’ going discovery of more artistic finesse on future releases, radar still tends to ignore these guys even after six or so original releases and a few collections, much like a lot of Brazilian efforts at the time. Are there jungles in Germany to lose your way in?
Now here's a nice little piece of early thrash/death. This feels like in the vein of old pre-album Kreator or Sodom with black metal overtones and lyrics, sort of sounding like their peers Minotaur or like a German counterpart to Possessed. This is actually pretty evil stuff for 1987. Most of the songs contain doomy mid sections ala Celtic Frost or Hellhammer, along with blurry sounding black metal riffing throughout most of the songs. The riffs still manage to be memorable and creative though. This is a lot different than their later stuff, obviously more influenced by Kreator/Sodom and the German thrash sound in general before they became more doom/death. Overall, this is a solid piece of headbanging metal, well worth checking out if you're into German thrash. All of the songs are good, classic thrash.