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Album Review

Sacred Reich – “Awakening” [Album Review]

Most things just die in the deserts of Arizona…however, with Awakening, the new album due August 23rd via Metal Blade Records, Sacred Reich has found new life in those same desolate landscapes and is just getting started…again.



It was 1996 when Sacred Reich released their last full-length album. What’s mind-blowing is that some of you might have been crawling around in diapers while that album, Heal, was playing in the background. What’s even crazier is that their new guitarist, Joey Radziwill, could have realistically been one of those thrash metal tikes! He’s only twenty-two for fuck’s sake! Regardless of these mind-blowing trivia nuggets, Sacred Reich is finally getting around to releasing their fifth full-length album appropriately entitled, Awakening.

By all accounts, Awakening (due August 23rd via Metal Blade Records and available to pre-save/order here) is a modern-day thrash album that sounds like a natural progression for the thrash veterans/OGs/pioneers from Phoenix, Arizona. There is no doubt that the recent member additions of Joey Radziwill and drummer (ex-Sacred Reich/Machine Head and then back to Sacred Reich) Dave McClain have breathed new life into the group. There’s more energy, the songs pop a bit more and Phil Rind (with whom we recently spoke—read our interview here) is belting his vocals with vigor. I was fortunate enough to catch Sacred Reich at their Brutal Assault Festival appearance recently and heard three of the album’s songs played live. I can definitely say that recording’s production is decent, but those songs sounded so much better live. They had more punch and groove, and any fan should make a point to see them during this album’s tour cycle.

Check out Joey and the rest of Sacred Reich shredding in their video for “Manifest Reality”:

Like every Sacred Reich release I’ve ever listened to, there are standout songs and Awakening is no different. Without a doubt, the title track is my favorite. It’s textbook Sacred Reich and if you don’t find yourself bobbing your head to those classic rhythm changes that have been a constant presence since Ignorance, well, then your neck must be in a brace. Two other tracks that put their stamp on the album are “Manifest Reality” (Wiley Arnett’s most ripping solo on Awakening) and “Something to Believe” with its catchiest chorus since “Crimes Against Humanity.”

So, it all comes down to this…If you are expecting Awakening to sound like Sacred Reich’s 80’s material, you might be disappointed. This album definitely sounds like a continuation of their mid-90’s catalog and if that era of the band doesn’t fancy you, the good news is that you can bet your life that “Surf Nicaragua,” “Death Squad” and even their killer rendition of “War Pigs” will probably always be included in their setlists. Most things just die in the deserts of Arizona…however, Sacred Reich has found new life in those same desolate landscapes and is just getting started…again.

Here’s the video for the title track of the new Sacred Reich album:

Awakening Track Listing:

01. Awakening
02. Divide & Conquer
03. Salvation
04. Manifest Reality
05. Killing Machine
06. Death Valley
07. Revolution
08. Something to Believe

Run Time: 31:23
Release Date: August 23, 2019
Record Label: Metal Blade Records