REVIEW! Sacred Reich - O2 Academy, Birmingham

Over recent years thrash has seen somewhat of a revival, these things do tend to go round in circles and the fast paced genre is as popular today as it was in the late 80's. Many a fantastic band fell by the wayside throughout the 90's as first grunge and then nu-metal took its toll. But as the wheel turned the time for thrash came round once more and many of the old guard returned.

 

One such band is Sacred Reich, born out of the original wave in 1985, these thrash legends made quite a name for themselves and built up a hefty cult following prior to disbanding in 2000. It wasn't until 2006 when Phil Rind started movements to reform the band and a short string of festivals dates followed. With the critical acclaim that surrounding the reformation the band returned full time, but as yet with no new material. Ten years on they hit Birmingham for the first time in a long time to a sold out Academy.

 

Local ensemble and The Revival favourites Chemikill are the first to take to the stage this evening. The female fronted 6 piece have been on the scene just as long as Sacred Reich and the latest incarnation of the band is killer. Tracey’s vocals resonate round the room as Garry Wain steers the band with his ferocious bassline. The band deliver over half an hour of extreme metal perfection and why they are opening rather than headlining shows of this size is anyone's guess.

 

Thrash upstarts Eradikator are the main support tonight, this is one of a string of dates the band are using to warm up for their appearance at the Bloodstock festival in mid-August. Their albums are incredibly well produced masterpieces, with strong hints of Megadeth and even some more raw early 80's thrash outfits. Their sound transitions well to the live arena, Liam Priest on lead guitar is awe-inspiring, as too is the beast that is Andy MacNevin on rhythm; both delivering majestic riffs and magical solos. As a whole the group is guided through the set by from man Patrick, on bass and vocals he commands the stage, helping the quartet produce a thirty minute set dripping in thrash goodness.

 

Thirty years after their iconic debut album Ignorance was released, Sacred Reich are touring to celebrate its anniversary. Thankfully this is a not a clichéd “play the album in full” deal, the set list features songs from the recording heavily but not in track order and not in its entirety. Thus we can enjoy the very best from their back catalogue.

 

As the room darkens shadows move on stage behind the billowing clouds of dry ice. The lights rise and the smoke dissipates a little revealing the thrash titans, a little older, a little wiser but just a keen as they ever were. Opening with the title track from the ignorance album is the rightfully fitting way to start this anniversary show and the fans love it.

 

Phil Rind on bass loves his banter with the crowd, reminiscing back to glory days in the city and the local legends that are Black Sabbath promising a treat later on in the set. One Nation, from the Surf Nicaragua deliciously thrashy and wonderfully executed. The band hold nothing back in a performace belying their years, youthful exuberance a plenty; it’s like 1986 all over again. 

 

Victim of Demise and Violent Solutions, both taken from the anniversary album, solidify the set at the mid point. The thrash pit has always been a raucous one and with the classic set list on show it seems many a Brummie fan is reliving their youth. And the classic State of Emergency keeps them going as the set draws to a close.

 

However, we are not done yet, Rind talks in depth of his love of Black Sabbath and in honour of the home town legends a thrash rendition of War Pigs is served up on a platter for the 800 song crowd to sing along to. With time running out and the curfew looming a rather rushed encore features just Surf Nicaragua as mayhem ensues in the crowd before the night draws to a close.

 

You couldn’t ask for a better example of what a traditional thrash metal gig should look and sound like. Tonight we had everything we had in the late 80’s from sounds, to looks to the intensity both on and off the stage. Be it nostalgia or not, its gigs like these that keep the beating heart of live music going, the blood pumping through the veins of every music fan who gets a kick out of being there in the moment. Sacred Reich delivered on all fronts this evening and long may it continue.

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