Surgical Strike – Part of a Sick World Review

Surgical Strike - Part of a Sick World 01Although I consider myself to be a major fan of the thrash genre, I have to admit that I was a late adopter when it comes to the German variety. Phantom Antichrist was my first Kreator album, but that melodic gateway drug led me down a path that resulted in endless, beautiful pain — in fact, one of my personal all-time favorite metal moments was catching a Mille Petrozza guitar pick at the end of Kreator‘s set in Seattle a few years back. I eventually explored much of Kreator‘s catalog and have begun to dabble in the classics by Destruction and Sodom, and it’s safe to say that Germany has a unique and extremely satisfying take on the style. Last week had me checking out a new outfit from some Teutonic thrash veterans, and since that one left me with mixed feelings, I was eager to jump right back into the scene to check out Surgical Strike and their debut album Part of a Sick World.

Surgical Strike had its beginnings in 1993 and put out a couple of demos before going on hiatus for nearly twenty years. Reforming in 2014 with vocalist Jens Albert as the lone link to its past, the band released an EP in 2016 and now present their first official entry into the German thrash canon. And a solid entry it is. Combining the blistering technicality of Destruction, the Bay Area swagger of Exodus, and some of the intricately frenetic riffing and venomous politics of Megadeth, Part of a Sick World is eleven tracks and 44 minutes of pure aggression — no interludes, no ballads, just piss and vinegar.

The embedded single “Dead End Gone” starts things off with a swift kick to the groin with its intro of insane drumming and demented screams. The track is a great example of Surgical Strike‘s style, one that forges complex musicianship into incredibly enjoyable songs that sound far simpler than they actually are. The riffing verges on tech death at times and amazing leads play themselves out behind the chorus. It’s a formula that works extremely well and makes Surgical Strike much more than just another rethrash band. “Below Zero” channels Exodus, and “Failed State” and “Politicians” sound like they would have fit in well on Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? The first half of the album is amazingly solid, but somehow Part of a Sick World kicks into another gear near the halfway point. “Lambs to the Slaughter” is an instant thrash classic with a chorus that demands headbanging and sing-alonging and the title track attempts to top it by being violently intense and incredibly catchy at the same time. “Sorrow for War” is a holdover from one of the band’s early 90’s demos, but its NWoBHM style is given the modern production treatment and it sounds great as part of this record.

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Speaking of the production, it fucking rules. Sick World is modern metal production values done right, and it makes these fabulous songs even more enjoyable. The guitar tone is fantastic, the rhythm parts seeming to come alive, snarling at you while they hold you down so the gigantic drums can cave your face in. Guitarists Marcelo Vasquez Rocha and Frank Ruhnke absolutely dominate here with super intricate riffs and leads that never once feel over-indulgent — every note is devoted to making the songs better, and they accomplish their goal. Drummer Moritz Menke is machine-like in his delivery, imbuing each track with immense, driving power, and band veteran Jens Albert’s charismatic and vicious performance is authentically old school, giving the record a believability that many modern thrash bands can’t seem to muster. Every song on here kills making it difficult to pick favorites, but “Dead End Gone,” “Conspiracy,” “Lambs to the Slaughter,” “Part of a Sick World,” and “The Breed” are absolute scorchers.

After disappearing for almost two decades, Surgical Strike has come out of nowhere to deliver a debut that can nearly stand toe-to-toe with old-bands-gone-modern successes like Formation of Damnation, Endgame, Tempo of the Damned, and Phantom Antichrist. I picked this promo for the name and the genre alone, so imagine my surprise when I realized I’d picked up the early thrash album to beat in 2020. Winning.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Metalville Records
Websites: www.surgicalstrike.de | facebook.com/surgicalstrikemetal
Releases Worldwide: January 24th, 2020

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