Manifest Reality: Sacred Reich Returns To The Metro

By Justice Petersen

On Tuesday, April 18, the Metro was assaulted by the intense sounds of a heavy metal lineup, consisting of Creeping Death, Sacred Reich, and Municipal Waste opening up for Grindcore titans Carcass. It was a ferocious set, full of passionate fans, mosh pits, and brutal thrash speed. While Creeping Death and Sacred Reich both gave positive and energetic sets, some other bands on the roster gave some not-so-graceful performances.

Texas-based death metal group Creeping Death was a perfect opener for the night, performing with a great balance of brutality and positivity. They tore through their latest single, “Intestinal Wrap”, which is a low, grinding, and fast-paced number. Full-blown mosh pits hadn’t begun yet, but the water was just beginning to boil as a couple of people were already starting to feel the music and thrash themselves around. Two young men, in particular, seemed to be the only ones going at it; they fed off one another’s energy as they would crash into one another a few times, hug it out, and then take a break until the music got them going again.

Soon, thrash icons Sacred Reich took the Metro stage. The last time they did so, according to vocalist Phil Rind, was around 1990. Formed in 1985, Sacred Reich is known for leading the second wave of thrash metal in the States, along with bands such as Testament and Death Angel. Playing groovy and punchy metal riffs, Sacred Reich sounds like the kind of music that would play at one of those “heavy metal vomit parties” that Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) ridicules John Bender for enjoying in “The Breakfast Club” (1985).

In 2023, Sacred Reich sounds almost exactly how they did back in 1990 when the band released their album “The American Way”. The group was so down to Earth, yet their chill vibes did not reflect or hinder their furious and incredibly tight playing. As they played several of their most well-known hits, such as “Independence”, “Ignorance”, and “Death Squad” (the pit got pretty crazy at “Death Squad”), Sacred Reich delivered a ferocious and exciting set.

After they played “The American Way”, Rind briefly spoke to the audience about how if we want the world to be a better and kinder place, then the only solution is to be better and to be kinder to others. “No one’s coming to rescue us. It’s up to us,” Rind said. “Be the change you want to be. Manifest reality.” After sharing this inspiring tidbit, Sacred Reich soon proceeded to absolutely kill it as they closed with their 1988 hit “Surf Nicaragua”.

Rind left fans with some pretty inspiring words – it’s too bad that Municipal Waste couldn’t have taken them into consideration.

After Sacred Reich played a flawless set, Municipal Waste took the stage and the packed venue went even crazier. As the thrash metal band played through their first song, the vocals seemed a bit quiet. When there are sound issues, it’s usually common courtesy for a band member to make a silent cue to the sound person. Like this night at the Metro, it’s typically one person doing the sound by themselves at a smaller venue.

After playing through the first song, Municipal Waste vocalist Tony Foresta proceeded to say that the sound was terrible, and he and other members of the band expressed anger at the fact that they couldn’t hear one another. As they always do, Metro staff handled the situation with class and efficiency, taking care of the issue despite Foresta mocking the sound guy and enabling the audience to do the same. “Did you put the card in upside down or what?” Foresta had asked him as crowd members laughed.

Once the sound issue was fixed, Foresta proceeded to make comments referring back to this issue throughout their set instead of carrying on and performing as usual. When one audience member called out Foresta’s behavior, Foresta proceeded to insult the audience member in retaliation.

The mosh pits also seemed to get worse. When those in the mosh pit fell, other audience members were too slow to pick them back up (the first rule of mosh pits: when someone falls, you pick them up). Also, Municipal Waste was encouraging the audience to crowd surf when Metro security was already struggling to maintain the crowd as it was. With the way the venue is set up, if somebody is crowd surfing and is brought towards the front, there is nowhere to put the person – it isn’t like a festival, where a fan can be taken over the barricade and off somewhere else.

So, when the band was encouraging people to crowd surf, security had to attempt to steer fans back the other way away from the stage (apologies to the one security member who got kicked in the face by one overzealous fan). Not to mention that encouraging everyone in a room to participate in this behavior is pretty ableist.
Municipal Waste sounded pretty tight during their set – it’s too bad their talent was overshadowed by their lack of respect for the Metro and it’s staff.

Afterward, the night’s headliner, English death metal group Carcass, took the stage. They played through a provoking set, which was accompanied by even more controversial visuals. Onstage, there were four vertical screens showing visualizers or videos for each song. At some points, these screens were showing graphic depictions of surgery. Although it’s a death metal group (they’re literally called Carcass), nobody in the audience consented to see such graphic content.

Also, it isn’t likely that the bodies featured in these videos gave consent to being portrayed in this way. Furthermore, the band also used intense strobe lights during their show, yet there were no signs around the venue telling audience members that the night’s performance was going to feature strobing lights. Seeing as the Metro is a serious venue and has been around since the 1970s, it doesn’t seem likely that this lack of warning was due to a mistake on the venue’s end.

Heavy metal is such a beautiful music genre because it’s known for intense personalities, controversial imagery, and passionate behaviors. However, when they’re not carried out with respect and kindness, these traits can take a turn for the worse – as seen at Tuesday night’s show.

On the bright side, Sacred Reich gave a killer performance to an excited and hungry crowd. Hopefully, the Arizona thrashers return to the Metro sooner rather than later. Despite the unfortunate behaviors from other bands on the night’s roster, it still didn’t take away from Sacred Reich’s and Creeping Death’s skull-rattling sets.

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Municipal Waste:
Sacred Reich:
Creeping Death:

Metro Chicago: