Sacred Reich - The American Way review
|Album:||The American Way|
01. Love ... Hate
02. The American Way
03. The Way It Is
04. Crimes Against Humanity
05. State Of Emergency
06. Who's To Blame
07. I Don't Know
08. 31 Flavors
Sacred Reich's fourth offering (and second full-length), The American Way was yet another step forward in a more socially conscious direction, with lyrics emphasising the importance of such issues as pollution, apartheid and (supposedly) music-influenced suicide. In a way, Phil Rind has made the lyrics more understandable for the listener here, yet remaining coarse and hateful as he ever was with his voice.
This release is even much more diverse than their previous two efforts, increasing the amount of groove in their sound, while sacrificing some of the speed that was evident earlier in their discography, although no loss is gained here, since one equates to the other. The music is just as enjoyable, especially in the latter section of "State of Emergency" or the almighty 'headbanger' "The American Way".
Sacred Reich removed the one-dimensional aspect almost completely by this point, since the bass and guitar are heavily shadowed by the dominant, screaming guitar, showing another way in which the band can still convey their sound. Fans of Ignorance and the e.p. Surf Nicaragua might feel the band sacrificed too much of their aggression in doing this, although those that can adapt would be more than willing to accept this, like myself.
While Wiley's style has remarkably changed, as his innovativeness in his soloing never ceases to amaze on this release, making each song unique and memorable in this respect. His ability to do this here further solidifies him amongst the ranks of the lesser known talented guitarists of his time, although his riff work was not as impressive. This is due to some repetitiveness in "State of Emergency" and "The Way it is", possibly indicating that he has explored the very summit of his own skills. Overall, it does tarnish the sound, causing the listener to feel that these parts were somewhat redundant and could have been improved upon by adding more variation, whether it is technically or otherwise.
Everyone is bound to be surprised by the end of this record, as the expectations by fans would be an all-around Thrash CD. Instead, Sacred Reich defy this by ending in what would definitely be perceived as a tragic conclusion to what may have appeared throughout the preceding tracks, with the jazzy and bopping "31 Flavours". This experimental composition is without a doubt a shock to the system for metal fans and might disgust many, due to an aversion from years of metal listening. The band forcefully urges metal fans to not follow trends, lyrically, too, suggesting there's more to metal than meets the eye with regards to influences on their own sound and maybe others, too.
Sacred Reich have proven here, on The American Way that they are yet to fade into the distance, refusing this by developing their sound differently once more, although undeniably weakening, submitting an arguably more commercial effort through and through.
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