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This tape is considered to be one of the most sold demos in thrash metal and now I know why. Here, Sacred Reich were absolutely amazing. Forget the half thrash influences of the latest albums because this is how thrash metal had to be done back in the 80s, waiting for that masterpiece called “Ignorance”. There are no half thrash metal tempo sections, no horrible stopped chords parts; all we can find here is pure speed and violence.
The band was already showing its skills and technical quality, united to a perfect, mature songwriting. Even if they were very young, they were also so good at the instruments creating songs-impact like the great opener “Draining You of Life” or the following, already classic “Rest In Peace” with those apocalyptic melodic guitars lines and following march tempo. The up tempo parts are really well done and precise even if they’re a bit brought down in quality just because of the poor production. Well, it’s not that bad but is too fuzzy and low in sounds.
The vocals seem even too brutal compared to the general sound but it’s just a production-sounds matter. Anyway they’re already recognizable and unmistakable with that hardcore touch. The guitars are the thing you can hear the best with great, fast shredded parts and good solos. Anyway, even if the production is not that great, you can always listen to great riffs and good songs. Sometimes the dark melodies, created by the lead guitars, are very similar to those Testament would have done on their debut.
All in all, an excellent demo that surely shocked lots of people in 1986, like the great debut album the year after. This is pure thrash with a melodic touch but with lots of aggressive parts and fast guitars palm muting parts. They were growing but they were already great.
Hey, remember that thrash band Sacred Reich? No, not the half assed politically charged bland band who's music bordered on half thrash most of the time, but the Sacred Reich who released Ignorance and thrashed like hell?
If so, this demo comes highly recommended. Though tracks two through to four would appear on Ignorance the following year, and the title track on the 'Surf Nicaragua' this still is worth getting. The raw production (or lack thereof) and occasional faster speed enhances the sound of the songs greatly, and ups the intensity. However, everything is still audible, as the demo's sound is surprisingly clear considering the year it was released. It does not have a 'muted' sound either; the guitar sounds like a buzz saw going for the throat, the vocals aren't overly loud and even the bass is audible.
For those who have not heard the songs on here, I'll provide a brief run down. It is sort of hard to draw comparisons with other bands, but I suppose if you sped up Testament and swapped their melodic soloing with near atonal shredding then thew in a couple of extra thrash breaks you would have this. At times this even sounds like Kreator's Endless Pain, seen in the occasionally proto death metal riffing. However, this is definitely more melodic and as a result more accessible and less extreme.
Phil Rind sounds quite young due to his untrained vocal performance which is a far cry from his 'half singing' performance seen on 'The American Way'. He mostly shouts his way through and as a result his vocals doesn't really stand out, but he does have a lot of energy in the delivery. Lyrically it is what one would expect from thrash; death, war, apocalypse and so on.
This demo is a far cry from what Sacred Reich would become in the 90's. It is less melodic, less accessible, more atonal and in general thrashier. While I don't see why it was the one of the most demanded thrash demos back in the day (it isn't that good), this is still a solid slab of thrash, and still worth getting for those who already have Ignorance.