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Vengeance! - 91%

Felix 1666, April 25th, 2015

Living Death's debut suffered from a terrible sound, but already their second full-length presented a great improvement. "Protected from Reality" went a step further and showed the band in top form. It offered some of the best German thrash metal tracks from this period. And it may sound very patriotic, but you surely know that Germany had a lot of strong thrash bands during the eighties of the last century. It was therefore for every thrash brigade a challenge to achieve a high position in the national ranking.

Violent Force were of the opinion that "Velbert is absolutely dead". But Living Death, who also originated from this town, did not share that fatalistic point of view. They acted with determination and tenacity. Bulky riffs opened the album in a very rude way. It became immediately clear that the band knew how to pull you into the tracks. "Horrible Infanticide (Part One)", the furious opener, unleashed a tidal wave of thrash metal. After its crude beginning, it turned to a straight high speed attack. The song was thematically related to the opener of the B side, "Vengeance (Horrible Infanticide Part Two)". Also the musical approach of these both tunes was fairly similar. "Vengeance" reached the same level of ferocity, straightness and poisonousness, among other things because of its crunchy chorus and some mysterious breaks. The atmosphere of the cover artwork especially matched with the aura of these songs.

Lead vocalist Toto Bergmann, strongly disputed in view of his Micky Mouse performance on the first album, made his best contribution so far. He still sounded very individual, but his high-pitched screaming followed a more controlled approach. Nevertheless, Toto's way of singing remained an unique selling point. He did no longer sound like the well-known mouse, but like a dying cat in its last minutes. In other words: simply ingenious. These two words could also be used for the description of the drilling guitar sound that did not fail to deliver an extra dose of aggressiveness. Overall, the mix reflected the spirit of thrash metal while impressing with both its density and its liveliness. In particular, the entire A side was an orgy of phenomenal riffs, vibrant breaks and menacing melodies. "Wood of Necrophiliac" constituted the most remarkable track. This instrumental piece created a very sinister atmosphere because of the interplay of emotional guitars and flattening riffs. Without any question, it is still one of the best instrumentals that I have ever heard. Much to my surprise, I did not miss the expressive vocals of Toto. Each and every riff as well as every single guitar line hit the mark. Rarely used keyboards and simple background vocals enhanced the effect of the aforementioned atmosphere. The only error of the song was that it ended too soon and too abruptly.

The B side surprised with a broader musical range. "The Galley" pummeled you with a doomy heaviness while "Eisbein (mit Sauerkraut)" was meant to be the funny conclusion. To be honest, it was not very funny at all, but the composition itself met the expectations. Nevertheless, the B side could not compete with the first half of the vinyl. With the exception of "Vengeance", the songs were slightly weaker than the pieces of the A side. However, the band did not present any throwaway track. While being driven by its musical conviction, the five-piece found its own way so that "Protected from Reality" did not lack of originality. Nevertheless, the band did not undermine the principles of the genre. Admittedly, it would be an exaggeration to say that Living Death managed to square the circle. But nobody could ignore the surprising development of the band. Just think back to the immature debut.