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Obscure mad thrash! - Rosenfeld - 90%

Dejv, July 29th, 2016

Rosenfeld is one of those Japanese thrash metal bands that left a big mark in the visual kei scene. Not only did they play mad thrash metal, but they also became known for using Nazi-esque themes in their appearance and music, which later was adopted by few non-metal visual kei bands as well. Just like their friends in Rommel (in which Kouichi also played) and Mein Kampf, Rosenfeld used the Nazi image for shock value only, which is quite evidently in their music, lyrics and even playing.

Now, let me explain. Their music is pure mad thrash metal, but played in a different way. Maybe because of their visual roots, or maybe because of their themes, Rosenfeld is a very different band and has a different approach to thrash metal, than, for example, other thrash metal bands that played at that time, like LawShed, Outrage or heck, even Raging Fury. They are all great bands and play well, but you can certainly tell their music apart.

This album shows a good picture how visual kei and thrash metal was starting to get refined and original. The songs now have more detail and are not only fast paced like they used to be in the early days. Occasionally there are some effects, like the sound of blowing wind and some acoustic guitar breaks which help to keep the album interesting until the end. The songs have now some progressive and avant garde touches to them, like in the opening and closing track of the album. But don't worry, there isn't a lack of pure, fast and aggressive riffs. Both Hiromi and Youichi did a remarkable job and delivered strong and technical thrashy riffs with great solos that you won't forget soon. The riffs accompanied by Hisayoshi's vocals, gave some songs thick, dark and powerful atmosphere. Particularly in Field of Roses and Holocaust Eve.

Most notably, one of the strong sides of Pigs of the Empire are Hisayoshi's vocals. The vocalist through the release (except in Rest in Peace) sounds like he was tortured and possessed by countless demons. Hisayoshi, together with the help of the strong back vocals, delivers some really deadly screams and powerful, yet dark and horrified shrieks, which sets a evil and wicked mood, bordering death metal territory a little.

Let's not forget the rhythm section of Rosenfeld, Gish and Kouichi. In my humble opinion, they were the best rhythm section that Rosenfeld ever had. Gish's bass playing is marvelous. He is not your typical thrash metal bass player who only follows the guitars. On the contrary, his bass playing is very audible and has his moments where it shines, especially in the technical track Caught in a Trap where he plays a sweet bass solo and in the fast and aggressive track Pigs of the Empire which ends with a bass driven guitar riff. As for the drums - they are great and far above average. Kouichi provides interesting patterns and fills, while keeping the rhythm fast and on point. I really enjoy his work on the whole album a lot, mainly because how well executed, performed and tight his playing is.

All things considered, Pigs of the Empire is definitely something that a thrash metal fan should not miss. It's bit of a shame that it fell into obscurity, since it is a strong release and had tons of potential. The only downsides I see, is that the production is not the best and that there is some broken English here and there, but that doesn't mean that you won't enjoy the rawness and power of this outstanding album.

Standouts: Holocaust Eve, Caught in a Trap, Pigs of the Empire, Field of Roses