Rebirth of a statement-making band
After one six-year hiatus and over 20 years since their last release (Heal), Sacred Reich delivers their fifth full-length studio album Awakening. Also, this will be the first album to not include founding members Greg Hall and Jason Rainey— both of who left fairly recently. Clocking in at a little over 30 minutes, the eight-track composition exemplifies the traits of speed metal.
With its fast instrumental pace that gives off a harsh vibe and the extended passages of instruments between vocals, Sacred Reich is embracing what they are known for. Since their prominent presence in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the band has shyed away from making a statement when deemed necessary; Awakening aligns with this notion.
“Awakening,” the title track and opener, encompasses the anger they have always carried in their proclamations. Long-time fans will appreciate the band staying true to themselves and continuing to be unafraid to make a stand. Immediately after, “Divide & Conquer” and “Salvation” deliver some of the fastest thrash sequences of the album while hitting hard with the lyrics.
Overall, the album consists of punch-packing songs and hopefulness. While some songs such as “Revolution” and “Killing Machine” highlight problems in the world, others like “Manifest Reality” are positive. “Manifest Reality” is a call to action for individuals to take initiative while “Killing Machine” touches on war and the death tolls that rise due to it. Each song has a lot to say and they all deserve people’s total focus.
With only eight tracks, Sacred Reich clearly knows how to create a great flow. Starting with the album title track and a mixture of hope and despair throughout the middle and ending with “Something to Believe” makes for a cohesive, well-thought-out album. They could not have picked a better time to release Awakening and the last song leaves listeners thinking about what is out there for them to believe. Even though the final song is a bit gloomy since they are asking for something to believe in, they also tell people that “compassion is key” and “love’s the only way to live my life each day.”
In the end, Awakening shows that over two decades this group does not develop rust and that Sacred Reich stays true to their non-bashful and assertive persona.