SACRED REICH — The American Way (review)

SACRED REICH — The American Way album cover Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"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.
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Vim Fuego wrote:
3 months ago
Love this a lot more now than I did back in the day. Even Sacred Reich think 31 Flavors is shit now though ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPVuBH0kR14
3 months ago
Superb album, utterly love it x

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