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Earth, Fire, Air, and Water… Dancing the Thrash - 88%

bayern, June 9th, 2016

The first decade of the new millennium was very prolific bringing back classic metal in style, and young talented newcomers rushed to join the hordes of reformed veterans and take part in this jolly good headbanging parade. One of them was Reinhold Schmidt, a young budding youngster from Rudeting, Bavaria, whose love for the more technical side of the good old thrash prompted him to form a band and thus pay tribute to his biggest passion. Since the majority of the guys over there were mostly keen on watching Bayern Munchen matches and drinking beer, showing very little interest in metal if any at all, the man had no choice but to settle for the one-man-does-it-all option thus releasing a short 3-track demo (“Silhouettes of Death”) in 2003.

Yes indeed, there were “silhouettes of death” on the demo, but the style was more deeply immersed in the retro thrash metal idea, albeit twisted through a more technical perspective with a strong reference to the Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.) legacy Schmidt really trying hard to come up with similar stylish, not so “individual” thought… sorry, riff-patterns. With the not very clear sound production, the main obstacle on the demo, cast aside less than a year later, nothing could stand on the way of the guy’s explosive debut.

So the elements start dancing with the ripping opener “We Suffocate in Pain” which thrashes forward with occasional more intriguing flourishes. At this early stage the album recalls Kreator’s more intricate period (think “Coma of Souls”, above all) Schmidt unleashing a high-pitched, shrieky tember not far from the one Schuldiner epitomized for the last couple of Death efforts. Enters “Captivated by the Abyss” and things become more technical and dramatic with the riff-patterns twisting and turning in all possible directions creating dense, hallucinogenic atmosphere. The title-track isn’t far behind in terms of complexity the guy shredding with the utmost precision also providing the requisite headbanging passage. “Salvation Obliged to Pain” is a more linear piece with a more accentuated death metal-ish edge and less flashy technical decorations.

All comes back on “Silhouettes of Death”, a creepy dark thrasher again with lots of atmosphere, leaving the hard impetuous thrashing for the following “Simplicity of Some Souls” which contains nothing “simple” in the elaborate riff-patterns in the middle, as a matter of fact. “Scorn” is a diverse cut with slow and fast passages taking turns Schmidt producing a marvellous lead-driven mid-break in the best spirit of his previously mentioned American peer; before “One Inch Blade” “pierces” you with hundreds of technical “blades” coming from all sides this 2-min outburst of creativity the highlight on the album. All the way to the closing “Perverse, Morbid, Good” which relies on stylish galloping rhythms to wrap it on those in league with a mind-blowing technical mid-section which alone certifies this short effort as one of the mandatory releases on the technical metal horizon of the new millennium.

Great stuff all around the guy sparing himself to an extent with all the tracks closing on just under half an hour, but the musicianship on display is nothing short of outstanding Schmidt borrowing influences from here and there, but in the long run managing to find the perfect balance between the tribute and the individual song-writing. The direct headbanging passages are very aptly mixed with the more technical decisions, some of those coming suddenly creating a steady, lasting symbiosis which never loses its very dynamic character. The short format of the songs creates the impression at times that Schmidt was still rehearsing for a bigger, more ambitious work which should be in its final stages by now…

Whatever the reasons for its delay, it’s a fact that Schmidt isn’t very willing to take a more active participation on the scene, and apart from the album reviewed here he hasn’t produced any new material. If it was intended as just a one-album-wonder effort, then it shouldn’t be a surprise the man’s very obscure status. It’s a pity that a talented musician like him is probably wasting his time right now doing some meaningless 9-5 job rather than working on another “dance”, this time of the Four Seasons to create the long-awaited thrash analogue to Vivaldi’s classical opus.