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Dependent - 46%

Felix 1666, May 1st, 2016
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, Hollywood Records

Independent? Definitely not. Guess they want to fool us. I do not know a lot of bands that were less autonomous than Phil Rind and his sidekicks. They followed each and every trend (mostly a little bit too late) instead of sticking to their guns. Due to their erratic behaviour, the band's name became a symbol of fickleness and the lack of authenticity casts a shadow over their late works. To be more precise, I mean all their albums with the exception of the debut and "Surf Nicaragua". But due to whatever reasons, I am not able to hate the quartet wholeheartedly, probably because the guys penned some fascinating songs during their entire career. The title track / opener of the here presented effort is musically brilliant and thrives on a vigorous riff, but already the first line of the lyrics ("Read my lips, I don't care what you say") is simply a lie. It is therefore no surprise that each and every tune leaves an ambivalent impression - or a really bad one, because some compositions go down the tubes.

Did I write "some" compositions? Honestly, there are more downers than solid tunes. The hard times already begin with track no. 4, "Supremacy". Sacred Reich deliver a couple of pseudo-thrash ejections and mix them with likewise stupid work samples with untypical configurations. "If Only" is a soft instrumental that nobody ever wanted to be part of a heavy metal album. A complete waste of time. "I Never Said Goodbye" will be enjoyed by fans of lubricious rock ballads. Despite its fairly aggressive instrumental part, this song sucks. More or less the same must be said about the fittingly named (and totally tedious) "Crawling". It wants to appear extremely heavy in view of its fat guitars, but even every ballad of the Scorpions would "rock you like hurricane" after the senseless "If Only". "Pressure" can score with its dynamic chorus and that is certainly better than nothing. Yet it is a shame that the main riff of "Open Book" lies in very close proximity to that of the aforementioned chorus.

On the positive side, we have lyrics that omit to glorify violence and a proper production. But at the end of the day, the quality of the sound is always just a technical detail. I would not rule out that even some non-metal albums have a good production, maybe two or three in the history of commercial music. Be that as it may, let's keep the focus on "Independent". In terms of the songs, I don't see many reasons to be joyous. Leaving aside the title track, only "Just Like That" develops a sustainable effect, although it is performed with the enthusiasm of a sleeping groundhog. The robotic vocals during the chorus have the effect of hastily taken sleeping pills. Nevertheless, a fairly good song with catchy guitar lines.

Finally, take a look at the cover. You see the masses that Sacred Reich tried to impress with their "more variable style" (to express it politely). But no matter how close you look, you will not find a metalhead in the crowd. Are you surprised? Then I recommend to listen - only for a few seconds, I don't intend to damage your precious health - to "Product". This thrash-heavy-rock-whatever piece features a stuttering guitar work that has written "bullshit" all over it. It is therefore only logical that people with a good music taste left the meeting place. Believe me, I really wanted to love this album in view of a certain number of excellent previous tracks of the band, for example "Victim of Demise", "One Nation" or "The American Way". But sorry, I can't, because this album doesn't live up to its name. Independent? Definitely not. Dependent from the expectations of the management and the zeitgeist? Yes, definitely.