Thrash Metal / Groove Metal / Heavy Metal / Funk Metal / Alternative Metal • United States — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of
Sacred Reich is a Phoenix, Arizona based thrash metal band that formed in 1985. Singer/songwriter Phil Rind's interest was in socially-conscious and political speed metal. After several records on Metal Blade Records, they signed to Hollywood Records for a short stint, but later returned to Metal Blade to continue their musical career. The band split in 2000.

Former drummer Dave McClain went on to join Machine Head in 1995. Lead guitarist Wiley Arnett went on to form The Human Condition with St. Madness vocalist Prophet in July of 2000.

In the summer of 2006, Wiley Arnett brought his recording equipment to his accountant's house in Arizona and produced the demo for the band A Tragic Comedy.

In 2007, the band reunited to play several shows in Europe, including Wacken Open Air. Since then, their groundbreaking debut and first EP have been rereleased with extra unreleased material, titled "Surf Ignorance". However,
Thanks to UMUR, Vim Fuego for the updates

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SACRED REICH Discography

SACRED REICH albums / top albums

SACRED REICH Ignorance album cover 3.08 | 9 ratings
Thrash Metal 1987
SACRED REICH The American Way album cover 4.13 | 14 ratings
The American Way
Thrash Metal 1990
SACRED REICH Independent album cover 3.17 | 6 ratings
Groove Metal 1993
SACRED REICH Heal album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Groove Metal 1996
SACRED REICH Awakening album cover 4.08 | 2 ratings
Thrash Metal 2019


SACRED REICH Surf Nicaragua album cover 3.87 | 6 ratings
Surf Nicaragua
Thrash Metal 1988
SACRED REICH Alive at the Dynamo album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Alive at the Dynamo
Thrash Metal 1989
SACRED REICH A Question album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
A Question
Thrash Metal 1991

SACRED REICH live albums

SACRED REICH Still Ignorant: 1987-1997 Live album cover 3.83 | 2 ratings
Still Ignorant: 1987-1997 Live
Thrash Metal 1997

SACRED REICH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SACRED REICH Draining You of Life album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Draining You of Life
Thrash Metal 1986
SACRED REICH The American Way Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The American Way Demo
Thrash Metal 1989

SACRED REICH re-issues & compilations

SACRED REICH Surf Ignorance album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Surf Ignorance
Thrash Metal 2007

SACRED REICH singles (7)

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War Pigs
Heavy Metal 1988
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0.00 | 0 ratings
31 Flavors
Funk Metal 1990
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0.00 | 0 ratings
The American Way
Thrash Metal 1990
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0.00 | 0 ratings
Thrash Metal 1993
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Thrash Metal 1993
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Open Book / The Big Picture
Thrash Metal 1993
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0.00 | 0 ratings
I Never Said Goodbye
Alternative Metal 1993

SACRED REICH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Wacken
Thrash Metal 2012



Album · 2019 · Thrash Metal
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"Awakening" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, Arizona based thrash metal act Sacred Reich. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in August 2019. It´s been 23 years since the release of "Heal" from 1996 and there´s one lineup change compared to the lineup who recorded the predecessor as guitarist Jason Rainey has been replaced by Joey Radziwill. However there have been other significant lineup changes and band status changes in the 23 years between "Heal (1996)" and "Awakening". Drummer Dave McClain left in 1997 to join Machine Head and had a 20 year successful stint with that band, before rejoining Sacred Reich in 2018. While he was gone original drummer Greg Hall returned and filled his shoes. Sacred Reich also had a period of inactivity from 2000-2006. They reunited in 2006 and have played sporadic shows since then, but finally they decided it was also time for a new release.

Considering they´ve had 23 years to write new material (although they weren´t active in all those years), it´s a bit surprising that "Awakening" only features 8 tracks and a total playing time of 31:23. Back in their heyday of the late 80s/early 90s, where it was normal to release an album each or maybe every second year, they were also notoriously known for their slow writing pace. Four albums released from their inception in 1985 to their original disbandment in 2000 pretty much tells that story.

But it´s always about quality over quantity in my book and fortunately Sacred Reich fully deliver on that parameter. Sacred Reich went through some different phases in their original run from aggressive Slayer influenced thrash metal on their 1987 debut album "Ignorance", to a more melodic and varied type of thrash metal on "The American Way (1990)", to the more heavy metal and groove metal influenced "Independent (1993)" and "Heal (1996)", so it´s not easy to know what to expect 23 years down the line.

As it turns out Sacred Reich sounds unmistakably like Sacred Reich on "Awakening". They are as well playing as ever and lead vocalist/bassist Phil Rind sounds pretty great too. His voice has changed a bit over the years and has become a little more hoarse, but he can still hit some high notes when needed. Stylistically "Awakening" is quite the diverse release, featuring both aggressive fast-paced thrash metal tracks (in glimpses the Slayer influence from their debut album has returned), mid-paced heavy tracks (many of them greatly influenced by Black Sabbath), and also quite a bit of melody (the best example of that is the chorus to "Death Valley"). A track like "Killing Machine" (which to my ears is a bit of a gem) also bears a strong traditional heavy metal influence.

So while Sacred Reich are still mostly refered to as a thrash metal act, there is much more to them than that (always has been). In the past they weren´t always successful with their genre experiments, but they hit the nail pretty perfect on "Awakening", which is a strong release throughout. The sound production is raw, organic, and powerful, the musicianship is strong (damn McClain is a great drummer), and the songwriting intriguing and clever. The album requires an open mind and a taste for other music styles than thrash metal, because this is definitely not a 100% thrash metal release, but to those who enjoy high quality heavy music, "Awakening" is a recommendable release. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

SACRED REICH The American Way

Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
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"The American Way" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Phoenix, Arizona based thrash metal act Sacred Reich. The album was released through Hollywood Records in May 1990. So there are 3 years between the release of the band´s debut album "Ignorance (1987)" and "The American Way", which was an unusually long time between a debut and a sophomore release in those days. Sacred Reich wasn´t inactive in those intermediate years though, as they toured but also released the "Surf Nicaragua (1988)" EP and the "Alive at the Dynamo (1989)" EP to bridge the gap between the two full-length album releases.

Musically quite a lot has happened in those 3 years too. The aggressive and rather obviously Slayer influenced thrash metal sound on "Ignorance (1987)" is all but gone on "The American Way", which introduces a more humourous (although not silly, and still with serious social/environmental/political commentary) and more varied sound. It´s still unmistakably the sound of Sacred Reich, but that´s mostly because of Phil Rind´s very distinct sounding voice and singing style than anything else. He sounds even more like the Jeff Bridges of thrash metal on "The American Way" than he did on "Ignorance (1987)". As a singer he is probably very much an aquired taste, but he undeniably provides the vocal side of Sacred Reich with a unique sound.

And unique is exactly the right word to use about "The American Way", which despite that it features standard thrash metal trademarks, like fast and heavy rhythmic riffs/rhythms, blistring solos, and a relatively high level of aggression, still manages to sound quite different from other thrash metal releases from that time (and in general). Bill Metoyer and the band have done a great job on the production too, which is clear, powerful, and again...relatively unique sounding.

The material on the 8 track, 35:24 minutes long album is generally of a high quality and all tracks are memorable and stand out from each other. Highlights are probably the iconic title track (which the band did a promotional video for), and the anti-suicide anthem "Who´s to Blame", but you can name almost any track off the album and call it a standout track. Although the closing and quite funky track "31 Flavors" is aimed at opening the musically close-minded to other musical styles, I´m gonna go out on a limb and call it a bit misplaced, and not really consistent with the rest of the material on the album (yeah alright you can call me concervative). It´s not bad by any means, just a pretty odd way of closing an album. To my ears it´s a track which would have been better suited on the B-side of a single or as an EP track. But that´s Sacred Reich in a nutshell. They always did exactly what they felt for, and didn´t cater to anyone else. Although I don´t agree with what they did here, I generally greatly respect the artistic integrity they show by such a boldness.

So "The American Way" is for the musically adventurous thrash metal listener. It´s not technical thrash metal (although some tracks actually feature some relatively technical playing), it´s not old school raw thrash metal, and it´s not Bay Area influenced thrash metal either. It´s thrash metal done the Sacred Reich way! A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved despite a few issues along the way.

SACRED REICH Surf Nicaragua

EP · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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Vim Fuego
The cover of the `Surf Nicaragua' EP features a gas masked surfer carrying a bomb surfing on a coffin, a comment on the clandestine US operation which saw mines deployed in the seas off the Central American state of Nicaragua. Now, most thrash fans in 1988 would hardly have known where Nicaragua was, let alone cared about the United States' political and military interference in the country. Sacred Reich's vocalist/bassist and politically aware lyricist Phil Rhind managed to get them singing about it, even if they didn't know what had happened, by creating a catchy little song which skirted the realm of novelty, but was anchored firmly in thrash.

The band's debut album `Ignorance' suffered the usual first album fate of thrash bands the world over in that it was well intentioned, but not entirely executed smoothly. At times, the songs were too samey, and the band seemed intent on playing as fast as they could, losing structure and impact because of it. This EP escaped that fate.

The whole EP was created around the title track. "Surf Nicaragua" takes off with an instant blast of thrash energy, and it looks like the race is on again. However, the chorus slows for a breakdown passage, and most of the song is played at a chugging mid-tempo. Perhaps the greatest appeal of the song is the world famous riff of surf anthem "Wipeout", followed by a surfing drum break, which appear unexpectedly. By pulling back on the tempo, Jason Rainey's crushing rhythm guitar sound is allowed to shine through. Add Wiley Arnett's twisting solos and you have all the makings of a metal classic.

Second track "One Nation" also breaks the speed freak mould with a steady, almost grooving rhythm, punctuated by Rhind's drill sergeant vocal delivery. The third track is a masterful cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", played straight and heavy. Even several decades after the song was written, the lyrics to the song are still shockingly relevant. It is still the best anti-war song in all metaldom, and outside the Sabbath original, you'll be hard pressed to find a better version of it. "Draining You Of Life" rounds out the EP, and the Nuclear Assault style thrash-out further demonstrates the band's new found talent for rationing the speedy sections to structure a song and increase their impact.

Sacred Reich were one of the wave of second generation thrash bands to come out of the US. These bands, like Flotsam and Jetsam, Forbidden and Death Angel, took their cues from thrash's originators, like Metallica, Slayer and Venom. Heavily influenced by Metallica, Sacred Reich set themselves apart from the pack by incorporating a strong political influence into their music, never better demonstrated than on this EP. Sacred Reich lost a lot of traditional thrash fans on the release of their second full album `The American Way' in 1990, by incorporating a number of new influences. The political edge to the lyrics was still there though, as was a newfound social conscience.

SACRED REICH Surf Ignorance

Boxset / Compilation · 2007 · Thrash Metal
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"Surf Ignorance" is a compilation release by US, Phoenix, Arizona based thrash metal act Sacred Reich. The compilation was released through Metal Blade Records in June 2007. "Surf Ignorance" features two audio discs and one DVD. The latter features interviews, promotional videos, live videos and a short film about Sacred Reich.

The audio part of the compilation consists of two CDs. The first disc features the full "Ignorance (1987)" album and three cover tracks by Judas Priest, MDC and Black Sabbath. The second disc features the full "Surf Nicaragua (1988)" EP (including the two live bonus tracks from the 1995 CD re-issue), some demo tracks and the version of "Ignorance" that was featured on the "Metal Massacre VIII (1987)" compilation. To sum it up it´s a compilation featuring most of the early material by Sacred Reich.

As a compilation "Surf Ignorance" serves it´s purpose well. Older fans get a chance to replace their old scratched vinyls and potential new fans get a chance to get to know the early material by the band (and learn something about them through interviews and the documentary) by purchasing one release instead of having to hunt down the original releases (which in some cases are probably out of print or nearly impossible to get your hands on). A great compilation release to my ears and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

SACRED REICH Surf Nicaragua

EP · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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"Surf Nicaragua" is an EP release by US US, Phoenix, Arizona based thrash metal act Sacred Reich. The EP was released through Metal Blade Records in October 1988 and bridges the gap (along with the "Alive at the Dynamo (1989)" live EP) between the band´s first two studio albums "Ignorance (1987)" and "The American Way (1990)". The original vinyl version of the EP featured four tracks and a 17:28 minutes playing time, while the 1995 CD re-issue features two extra tracks and a full playing time of 26:03 minutes.

The four tracks on the original version are all studio recordings, while the two bonus tracks on the re-issue are live versions of "Ignorance" and "Death Squad". Two tracks that in their original studio versions appear on "Ignorance (1987)". The EP title track is what you can safely call a thrash metal classic. It´s a track that shows great progression from the more serious Slayer influenced sound of the debut album, as it takes the band´s sound into a more humourous direction (which is also underlined by the cartoonish cover artwork). The band haven´t lost their political edge though which is fully on display in the next track "One Nation". A track that is almost equally as strong as the title track. The next track is a cover version of "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath. It´s alright but covers of Black Sabbath songs never made my blood boil. I much prefer the originals. The last studio track is a re-recorded version of the title track from the "Draining You of Life (1986)" demo. It´s decent but nothing too exciting. The two live tracks from the 1995 CD re-issue on the other hand are really great. I´d go as far as to say they are better than the studio originals.

The sound production is professional, powerful and suiting the music perfectly. And that goes for both the studio and the live tracks.

"Surf Nicaragua" is a classic thrash metal EP from the eighties. One of those releases you need to hear to understand the development of the genre. The quality is a bit up and down but especially "Surf Nicaragua" and "One Nation" are really positive experiences and if you include the two live bonus tracks to the overall rating I´d say a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved.

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13hammer wrote:
more than 2 years ago
WTF =)) alternative metal ???? .... fail


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