The legendary thrashers Sacred Reich are coming to Greece for two shows in Thessaloniki and Athens to celebrate the 30 years of their first seminal record called “Ignorance”. Metalpaths, in order to honor one of the most sociopolitically active bands of the thrash metal scene, got the chance to do a tribute to the record, reminding people that social and political ignorance is not bliss.
Sacred Reich was founded in 1985, and proceeded the next year to record the “Draining You Of Life” demo tape, what later became one of the most sought-after underground tapes. After the band recorded “Ignorance” for the Metal Massacre VIII in 1986, the band was signed to Metal Blade and became the first thrash band in the label’s history to be offered distribution through Capitol Records. Then the band went on to record its debut full-length album called “Ignorance”.
The album cover of “Ignorance” was initially different but it was changed cause the label thought it was too punk-looking. However, it was included in the inner-sleeve along with the lyrics. The blind-folded prisoner over the US flag was a provocative sign of resistance against the Ronald Reagan administration and its actions. But the political statements didn’t stop at the artwork. Let’s take a closer look at the album itself:
1. Death Squad: The intro mid-tempo mosh-fest, turning into a circle pit anthem with one of the best choruses in the history of thrash metal. A song about squads who worked in secrecy along with the police to contain the peoples’ resistance, kill those who disagree in order to establish an oppressive regime which seemed as democracy, but in truth, it was quite the opposite.
2. Victim Of Demise: Razor-sharp riffs, cutting through our necks and skulls, ordering our bodies to mosh and headbang. Lyrically, a song addressing the issue of a persons’ last thoughts before he dies, as the body decays slowly. Sacred Reich looking Slayer in the face in terms of aggression and ferocity.
3. Layed To Rest: A beautiful interlude, breaking the albums’ aggression and taking us into a more peaceful place….
4. Ignorance: The albums’ “hit” if you’d like. Atmospheric intro for thrash standards, before going into the trademark ferocious Sacred Reich riffing. Summing up the whole sociopolitical theme of the album, we get a lesson in how ignoring the political situation is eventually going to kill us, since the future lies in our own hands and we’ll decide what’s best for us, no one else.
5. No Believers: Sacred Reich making a stand against religion, and the absurdity of it all. Another crushing thrasher, not letting the listener go for one second, with a full-on punk attitude, which fueled all of Sacred Reich’s material and overall image.
6. Violent Solutions: The story of a person living in poverty, who turned into a serial killer, and avenged society, because violent situations demand violent solutions. Damn good theme for a thrash metal song isn’t it? And what song that is, showing some of the groove that Sacred Reich will become more known for on their next album, flavoring this relentless thrasher differently.
7. Rest In Peace: The killer intro lead, followed by more of the groove of the previous song, before going into mid-tempo moshing riffage and from there, into the relentless thrashing Sacred Reich love to deliver. And that riff in the middle, is one of the most addictive riffs of this record and for the writer, of the whole genre. Lyrically, it’s a song about the one and only Freddy Krueger, the killer in our dreams.
8. Sacred Reich: The bands’ self-titled song. Musically, a song with a really strong punk feel on the chorus and a devastating thrasher. Lyrically, a song about the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler and all of their “activities” and how the “Nazi disease” should be stopped. A really timeless message indeed: stopping the fascist ideas by not creating the conditions in which they’ll thrive.
9. Administrative Decisions: One topic that couldn’t be left out of this album: schools and teachers’ authority over students. Addressing the issue of putting respect for authority (teachers, headmaster and other superiors) over actually receiving knowledge, Sacred Reich hit a soft spot in the educational systems all over the world. With the one-size-fits-none motif that only lets the selected few through and encourages the students to become enemies instead of just friendly rivals or just remain apathetic in order to get through. All that told through a thrash classic, and the writers’ favorite. The perfect way to end a true thrash classic.
In 1986, in the US thrash scene, only Dark Angel’s “Darkness Descends” dared to stand next to Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” in terms of full-speed-ahead ferocity, aggression and lyrical violence. A year after that, not only did Sacred Reich’s “Ignorance” become the second album that stood proudly and loudly next to “Reign In Blood”, but it also was the first extreme thrash album in the US that showed some critical thinking along with the “maim, kill, slash” themes that the more extreme side of thrash loved to deal with. The critical thinking of Sacred Reich’s lyrics and the timelessness of their on-point social and political commentary, makes this album a blueprint of thinking man’s thrash metal and a milestone for the genre 30 years after its release. Any band who wants to follow the progressive left political route lyrically, should read Sacred Reich’s approach on things (which remains the same to this day).
Sacred Reich have every right to celebrate this feast of social and political commentary called “Ignorance”, and we can’t wait to join them on this feast and have a great time with their timeless music. SEE YOU IN THE PIT!