September 7, 2006


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Spi Ritual, Pulse
Sensory Dark/Lasers Edge, 2006

Get it? Like “spiritual,” but it’s thrash metal, so a horrible pickaxe incident had to happen somewhere. This isn’t a fair fight: Nile and Ra and all their classmates at Egypt-Rock High just had the smart kid move in and raise the bar way too high, but it’s cheating because Stefan Hertrich has composed video game soundtracks and done New Age chill records that won awards — Karl Sanders had better get packing for the pyramids again pronto. Undeniably great mix of sounds, whether or not the Megadeth power-drilling is off-the-rack; Hertrich’s got a jones for Sting by the looks of it, often laying gorgeous, squealy Indian vocal lines (courtesy of Yana Veva) alongside his Quorthon black-metal blood-gargle and Quiet Riot jockstrap-squeezing. Hopefully all the sorely needed ethnicity he’s being kind enough to offer the genre will garner adequate support to take this thing wide, although it’d be a challenge to assemble thrashers gentlemanly enough to take extended powders during the intro sandstorms that kick off every single song. A-

— Eric W. Saeger