Besides consistently booking the most impressive heavy metal lineups on the international festival circuit, Germany's Wacken Open Air has increasingly provided a merited victory lap opportunity for many an aging, or even long-retired headbanger, eager to eat his first meal in, oh, a few decades. All kidding aside, if there was ever a group of over-the-hill rock soldiers deserving of belated paydays, then why not the long-suffering, unselfishly dedicated members of the underground metal community? This particular installment of the ever-growing list of CD/DVD releases named simply Live at Wacken
documents the 20th anniversary reunion of Arizona thrashcore pioneers Sacred Reich
in 2007, and it's neither the greatest nor the lamest victory lap to result from this unofficial live album series. The band rips right into perhaps their best-known song, "The American Way," dispensing with all ceremony or suspense in the process, but setting the tone for the no-frills, let's-get-down-to-business "greatest-hits" set that follows, culminating in encores of such underrated '80s thrash classics as "Independent," "Death Squad," and "Surf Nicaragua." In between, vocalist/bassist Phil Rind
, lead guitarist Wiley Arnett
, rhythm guitarist Jason Rainey
, and drummer Greg Hall
bash their way through a slew of secondary career highlights ("Ignorance," "Who's to Blame," etc.), the likes of which only die-hard devotees raised under Reaganomics will properly appreciate -- never mind comprehend -- lyrics filled with preachy socio-political diatribes (just how '80s teenagers reconciled Sacred Reich's violent music with a song title like "Administrative Decisions," for example, is anyone's guess). Still, though Live at Wacken
may not be perfect, at the end of the day, Sacred Reich leaves the stage not only having sated those fortunate enough to attend the show in person, but, most likely, anyone fan enough to take a ride on this hair-raising skate down memory lane.