Sacred Reich – Limelight Belfast 2 – 1st December 2019
Thrash.....The American Way!
In the little over 2 years since Sacred Reich last graced the stage of the Limelight, a lot has changed in the world of these Arizona thrashers! Drummer Greg Hall has been replaced by the returning Dave McClain and guitarist Jason Rainey left the band to be replaced by Joey Radziwill. However, the biggest difference was that these thrash legends had finally released new music in the shape of their long awaited comeback album, Awakening.
Unsurprisingly, as show time approached, expectations at the Limelight were therefore running exceptionally high.
If there’s one way to get a crowd on your side in Ireland it’s to associate with Thin Lizzy…..so coming on to “The Boys Are Back In Town” was a master stroke that sees Sacred Reich take the stage to a heroes welcome. After taking in the reception for a moment or two Phil Rind and the boys launched into new song “Divide and Conquer” (and it did), followed immediately by the all-time thrash classic that is “The American Way”, which prompts the assembled throng to bellow along in full voice.
What became abundantly clear over the course of Sacred Reich’s concise 70 minute set was the rightful pride they have in Awakening, with a third of the songs coming from that album. The remainder of the set was given over to their anthems such as the evergreen “Who’s To Blame” and “Independent”. However, the best was saved for last with the night drawing to a close with “Death Squad” – which is preceded by a heartfelt dedication to Slayer, who had played their final show the previous night – and culminating with a rip-snorting run through of “Surf Nicaraugua”, a song that will never, ever, get old!
Incidentally, special mention should go to new guy Joey Radziwill, who at a sprightly 23 is clearly having a ball on stage, permanently gurning and headbanging like a mentalist and is the perfect foil to the more laid back style of Phil Rind and Wiley Arnott.
Sacred Reich may not have made it to the level of some of their peers, but what is clear from a performance like this is that fault can not be laid at the feet of their music. These second wave thrashers have always had the intelligence, and most importantly, the tunes to back up their cult status and it’s clear they also have a genuine affection for their fans. Indeed, Phil Rind highlights the fact that they haven’t made things easy for their rabid fanbase over the years and are extremely thankful for everyone in attendance.
All in all, this was another great night from Sacred Reich and highlights why those in the know continue to hold them in such high esteem! 9/10
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