Sacred Reich – Awakening (Album Review)

Sacred Reich – Awakening
Released: August 23rd, 2019


Wiley Arnett // Guitars
Joey Radziwill // Guitars
Dave McClain // Drums
Phil Rind // Vocals, Bass



If you think Tool fans have had a long wait for that band’s next album spare a thought for Sacred Reich’s long time followers who have been left in the wilderness 23 years. Yep, that’s not a typo, 23 years. In fact in the years passed since the band’s fourth studio album, Heal, their drummer of that period, Dave McClain left the band, forged a long and fruitful career with Machine Head, resigned from that band and now lands back into the fray decades later to assist with album number five, Awakening. What makes this album more jaw dropping is that new guitarist, Joey Radziwill wasn’t even born when Heal came out.

So are Sacred Reich still relevant in 2019? Emphatically it’s a big yes from this reviewer. Radziwill is a perfect fit for this band, his scorching riffs seamlessly bouncing off Arnett’s solos and lead alongside Rind’s bellowing bass lines. Where Heal felt a little rushed and haphazard, Awakening is a succinct metal album, delving into thrash and power metal, wavering somewhere between Iron Maiden, Anthrax and Death Angel. If that floats your boat, read on.

The album kick starts with its title track, ‘Awakening’. It’s a full throttle Sacred Reich gem and anyone aware of the band’s 1993 album, Independent, a grossly underrated record will be happy with its structure. Speed, riffs, and that Rind roar, the big man and his flawless vocals always a highlight of any Sacred Reich album. Whilst the majority of the album contains similar break neck thrashy numbers, the band take it down a notch on ‘Death Valley’, with the tempo tapering off and Rind expanding his vocal range. Highlights include ‘Manifest Reality’ and ‘Killing Machine’, and anyone into anything remotely metal couldn’t resist turning this tunes up to maximum and annoying the shit out of the neighbours. Again, Radziwill and Arnett combine as well as any guitar duo in heavy metal music. The master and the apprentice.

Lyrically, Rind, whom I’m presuming wrote the majority of the album sticks to a theme of positivity in life and becoming a better person. I have no idea what trials and tribulations Rind and his mates have been through these last two decades but clearly they’ve come out the other side better people and wish to convey their wisdom onto the world. If you’re not one for receiving positive messages and prefer the doom and gloom of an alternative lifestyle you may want to steer clear of Awakening. The production is crisp with McClain’s outstanding drumming a highlight throughout, something he has carried on from his stellar work with Machine Head.

Old school riffs will never die. Awakening is a play by the numbers thrash metal album, with some positive messages. The band have uncovered a hidden gem in Joey Radziwill and found a new lease on life for Dave McClain. Don’t miss these guys on their upcoming eastern states appearances later this year.

sacred reich - awakening

Sacred Reich – Awakening tracklisting

1. Awakening
2. Divide and Conquer
3. Salvation
4. Manifest Reality
5. Killing Machine
6. Death Valley
7. Revolution
8. Something To Believe

Rating 8/10
Awakening is out Friday August 23rd via Metal Blade Records. Pre-Order here
Review by James Birkin @Lightbulbvegan


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About Plugga73 (370 Articles)
Writing, reviewing, interviewing, exploring new and old heavy music. From punk to grunge to hardcore to death metal to thrash and everything in between. I've been writing in the music industry now for several years including the websites LOUD, SF Media, Tone Deaf, The Metal Review and AMNplify. I'll be the one talking about bands from the 90s all the time..... Hit me up on twitter @Plugga73