Sacred Reich – Independent (1993)

Independent is the third and second-last album by West-Coast thrash metal band Sacred Reich. It was released in 1993 under Metal Blade and Hollywood Records.

The album opens with the title track of the album, Independent. The uptempo tune holds what fans would expect from the band: heavy guitar riffs with thrashing drumming and screaming vocals.

Free, track 2, continues the thrash monologue with a mid-tempo, double-bass anthem, only to pick up the pace during the song to finish it up in high tempo. Just like Independent started the record.

Just Like That brings the tempo down quite a bit but makes it up with a heavier guitar riff and more intense vocals. The song includes a great guitar solo in terms of musicality – a must listen.

Supremacy tightens the tempo and fits perfectly into the musical concept of the record, also in regard to the lyrics. I especially like the palm-mute break parts.

If Only, track 5, is an all acoustic instrumental ballad. Even though it is completely different in musical style than everything else on the record, the mood and feel of the song match the concept perfectly. Definitely a musical masterpiece by Mr Arnett.

Crawling brings back the thrash metal with a so-called danceable thrash metal song. I really enjoy the cut-time part and the alternative riff during the guitar solo. And the slowing down after the solo gives a great feel to the song in general. To me, a great pick up for the next song, one of the heavier tunes on the record.

Pressure, track 7, can be defined as a reprise of Supremacy, track 4. Mood, tempo, even the lyrics could go hand in hand – at least in my opinion.

Product addresses the problem of the average citizen only being a product of society. A timeless argument. The riff and arrangement are relatively monotonous and give space to the vocals to express their real meaning. Musically, maybe one of the weaker songs, but lyrically one of the stronger songs on the album.

I Never Said Goodbye is an epic melodic metal tune about telling someone loved goodbye – or better, not getting to do that. The song always gets me. It’s a 7 minutes 41 seconds anthem that starts with a clean picking guitar to enter a mellow feel unit it becomes heavier and more aggressive in the chorus, just to pick up the pace and intensity during the first guitar solo and eventually break down again. The song can definitely be defined as one of the highlights of the album. Phil Rind outdid himself with this one. Hell yeah!

Open Book opens with a cool bass riff, all in Sacred Reich manner, and introduces the old-school high-speed uptempo drumbeat. Great arrangements in this one leading the way towards the ending song of the album.

Do It continues directly in the same mood and feel of Open Book to close this fantastic album with a wall of thrash metal guitars and pumping double-bass drums exactly on the point. No fade out or feed out or anything fancy. Just break and out.

IMHO

It was said that the band did abandon their thrash metal roots with this album, but I could definitely not disagree more. Independent and I Never Said Goodbye are among the best songs that Sacred Reich ever released, and the album follows a simple but excellent concept musically, lyrically, and production-wise. This album belongs in the Best Heavy Metal Albums of All Time list because of the above-mentioned reasons. I strongly suggest to go look for this one and listen to it from beginning to the end. You won’t regret it.

Album grade:
Lyrics 9/10
Musicianship 9/10
Production 9/10
Concept 10/10
Total grade 9.25/10

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer