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What thrashing-bells for these who die as cattle? - 93%

Acrobat, November 5th, 2008

…The hail of bullets, the screaming napalm that engulfs the jungle in angry flame and the vehement thrashing grind, the boys are at war. “Tom, why are we in Vietnam? We’re fucking Germans!” exclaimed a confused Blackfire. “I don’t know man, Germany hasn’t fought in a war since, well… you know” Tom replied. And with that they continued an onslaught of shredding thrash amongst the shredded brains dripping out of the helmets of the dead (do not do anything with that phrase, leave it be!). Witchhunter – rather understandably – panicked and his drumming was excitable, tense and wonderfully unpredictable as if he was taking swigs of beer between beats and I wouldn’t put that beyond him. The riffs moved out in their scope giving a more panoramic view of the war, near melodic tendencies were present amongst the sound of helicopters blades, but the state-of-the-art red hot Marshall tone still had ample room to destroy anything in its path. In the heart of battle Angelripper – ever the caring soul – still found time to muse upon the wretched innocents left mutilated and scarred by the chemical agent called… ‘Agent Orange’! Stillbirth rose and mothers were left cradling sticky, putrid afterbirth that bore some resemblance to the meatball sauce from Subway and Tom documented it all in its steamy, tomatoed glory. Amongst the confusion Blackfire thought he was a helicopter and as such his guitar solo sounded like one spiralling out of control. One could have put this down to the sort of expressionism that guitarists are prone to, but no, this was a clear product of shell shock and poor Frank was soon to be institutionalised in the good hospital Kreator.

The second push: the boys – though still confused by their reasons for being in a conflict that was supposedly over fifteen years ago and didn’t actually involve their country – when forth at a frantic pace, Witchhunter blasted his way through the jungle and the riffs took on a quasi-NWOBHM feel… but what has this? A clearing and there was not a sound but the minstrelsy of acoustic guitars that Tom thankfully didn’t snarl over. But it was clear that they must press on and the soundtrack to the first and only German thrash metal expedition into Indochina took on a mid era Metallica vibe in both rhythm and lead guitar that was the highpoint of a perfectly developed thrash song. But the boys were weary, homesick and all things considered ‘Tired and Red’…

“I’m sick of this fucking war, you can’t get a decent beer anywhere! Need I tell the Budweiser/Canoe joke again, lads?” Witchhunter proclaimed.

“Fine, sod it. Let’s go home” Said Tom heaving up his backpack.

And with that our valiant and actually pacifist soldiers fucked off home, leaving the soldiering to the soldiers not our dearly beloved long hairs. Given that the male population was still at the front (barring the pre-pubescent and coffin dodging) the fruits of womankind were at the whim of the band’s lusts, hell, even Witchhunter was considered hunky for a time! But Tom’s most ardent desire lived up to the band’s perverse namesake… he dreamed a sordid fantasy with his sister, Katie. Grasping her small hand he whispered inhaling deep, breathy breaths “I’ve written a song about you”. “Oh, that’s nice Tom. How is Frank? You know we saw each other briefly last year,” she announced feeling a tad uneasy about her brother’s wandering eyes and tight grasp. “Enough! Frank’s got a girlfriend anyway!” Angelripper interrupted, “But as I was saying, I’ve written a song for you, it’s called ‘Incest’”… and with this Katie Angelripper promptly left and family Sunday dinners henceforth took on a uneasy feeling. Feeling an absence of shame like only a German or possibly a Dutchman could have, Tom was left somewhat bemused. “Was it something I said?” he pondered to himself.

But he knew he had bigger problems to deal with, and though his mind would wander to thoughts of Katie’s voluptuous figure, he set about penning the anti-battle hymn that became ‘Remember the Fallen’. His comrades were still in the heart of hellish warfare and he had to do something! This something was the Sodom styled power ballad, ‘Remember the Fallen’, a fitting elegy to all the pointless and nameless dead of war. Its message was given clarity by the musical austerity of the song – a simple mid-tempo thrash refrain with some galloping changes to give tribute to those who are ‘brotherly in heart and hand’. With this fitting tribute finished, Tom congratulated himself with one more drink and a quick fumble through Katie’s knicker draw.

To get across just how anti-war they were Sodom wrote a nifty little number called ‘Ausgetbombt’ that takes a well-needed mood change and in contrast to the more complex thrash this is a straight-up Motörhead styled rocker. Still being pretty shell-shocked, Frank thought he was in a bomber and as such his solo sounded like the thunderous crash of a bomb or at least a cartoon pastiche of one. Ever in rallying, rousing form Tom gives us the best vocal delivery on a thrash record ever in the final verse. It’s rock ’n’ roll and predictably I like it, but then again the levels of alcohol and testosterone in my blood are probably higher than yours.

A triumph in both thrash metal and anti-war song craft.