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The best of the Living deads - 85%

DesecratorJ, November 13th, 2017

Ah yes, another band from Velbert, Germany, the place where Violent Force also came from. Living Death started their musical journey a little bit earlier though, they already had a release by 1984 titled "Vengeance of Hell", which was a very raw sounding speed metal record, to say the least. The band had difficulties being recognized as a serious act, so they slowly climbed in musical skill and in the quality of their material as they were releasing albums. Unfortunately, Living Death never got much attention because of the popularity of some other German bands of that time. We obviously talk about Sodom, Destruction and Kreator, you might know them if you're reading this.

What we have here is definitely the best Living Death album, in my opinion. "Protected from Reality" is the third album of the band and it was released in 1987. It features nine tracks and clocks at 38 minutes of running time. The cover art of this record looks pretty interesting as well, though I don't really know how it makes sense with the name, it still looks cool, unlike their previous ones, which were not that attractive. If you discovered Living Death with their debut, you will notice a significant improvement of their sound, otherwise, you will see the band with a quite different point of view.

Well, first and foremost, the music on this album is pure German speed metal at his peak in the 80s. The unique and noticeable aspect of Living Death is without a doubt, the vocals of "Thorsten "Toto" Bergmann". His high-pitched voice, with his screams are very impressive, I can't imagine myself singing with this kind of tone, that's for sure... It's kind of hard for some listeners to get used to it, and I am pretty sure some people don't like the band just for that specific reason, which is shameful. Despite that, the singer still delivers his best performance on this album with a more trained use of his vocal abilities. The musicianship of the band is also at his peak, the best example is the instrumental track called "Wood of Necrophiliac". This track is the most interesting one because of its dark and obscure atmosphere, the song is very horror-themed and contains great melodic parts and proves that the guitar duo had talent to come with such great riffs and solos.

This album is awesome for its incredible balance in each song, the music is very straight to the point and doesn't just fuck around to nowhere. All the tracks are basically the same style and have the typical speed metal structure, however, there are still some thrash metal elements that add some aggression at times. The tracks "Horrible Infanticide (Part One)" and "Vengeance (Horrible Infanticide Part Two)" are great examples of a mix of those two genres. Since this album takes a bit more time to get into, (I am speaking by personal experience), after a few listens, tracks such as "Intruder", "Natures Death" and "Manilla Terror" especially grew on me. Those tracks were catchy and had great choruses that made me keep interested in digging this album even more. The only song that isn't a full speed ahead one is "The Galley", which is a more heavy metal oriented track, probably the weakest on this record if you ask me. Living Death were better at making songs like "Eisbein (mit Sauerkraut)", it's the last one on the record, but what a aggressive way to end it, it's definitely the most brutal track with its blasting drums and the guitar riffs that never slow down. As you may have noticed, their lyrical themes are mainly based on the horror, death and violence, the typical speed and thrash metal themes yes... Production-wise, the band did flawless work on this one, all instruments are very well heard in the mix. It's not an overproduced album like today, but it doesn't contain any of the rawness of their first album.

So, what to expect from this album? Well, in general, a German speed metal attack that basically never stops till the end. Of course, I have to recommend you to give this album a listen, even if you said that you don't like Toto's vocals. Anyway, maybe it's not as original or memorable as some other classics, it's still awesome to enjoy at times. "Protected from Reality" is worthy of being one of the best German speed metal records.

Highlights :

Intruder
Manila Terror
Natures Death
Wood of Necrophiliac