Album of the Week 28-2016: Reckless Tide – Helleraser

Reckless Tide was a modern Thrash Metal band that should have made it big, but somehow never did. Maybe some things weren’t quite taken care of on the business end, because the musical side is excellent. Unlike other bands that were trying to breathe new life into the genre in the 21st century, Reckless Tide wasn’t just focusing on Pantera-like chugging. They knew how to write a good melody and had some impressive technical skills on board – their rhythm section in particular. ‘Helleraser’ maybe isn’t for the Thrash purists, but those who like their music propulsive, melodic and unpredictable should find something of their liking here.

On this sophomore album, Reckless Tide still had two singers in the band. At the time, more bands were taking this approach to various degrees of necessity, but even though I find myself enjoying Kjell Hallgreen’s melodic approach more, at least he and his more Hardcore-like British colleague Andrew Troth had quite different approaches. More interesting is the guitar work: while Susanne Swillus and Oliver Jaath don’t trap you in a crossfire of solos, their riff work is highly dynamic and their melodic themes are nothing short of amazing. They’re memorable and catchy, but don’t neuter the songs.

As with the vocals, my favorite songs on ‘Helleraser’ are definitely on the more melodic side. ‘Symbiont -Chaper II- (Welcome To My World)’ is defined by its heartfelt chorus, but there’s some tight riff work and a lot of irresistible twin guitar melodies at work as well. Also, I still don’t get why ‘C.H.A.O.S.’ is a bonus track. Okay, the lyrics are a slab of Glamrock cheese, but the riff work is so excellent and the almost dreamy atmosphere of the chorus is unique. ‘House Of Cards’ is the album’s most melodic and catchy moment, but manages to be powerful enough to not sound out of place.

However, the band has something to offer when they’re in full-on Thrash mode as well. ‘Evolution’ and ‘Extosterone’ are excellent in mixing up melody and aggression and end up being the most traditional sounding songs of the set. Drummer Kai Swillus is all over the place in the fantastic title track, which starts with one of the most chaotic passages of the record and evolves into a high octane Thrasher with raging riff work and a tranquil outro. And then there’s ‘Kleemähendeäbte’, which is too silly for its own good, but secretly has some excellent musicianship in it as well.

Combined with its awesome artwork – not just the album cover, quite a lot of effort visibly went into the booklet – ‘Helleraser’ was one of the better total products of an era in which the music industry increasingly invested in throw-away products. It’s also one of the very few modern Thrash records of which the listenability outstays one or two spins and that’s simply because the band has a couple of great songwriters in its line-up. Definitely worth your time if you haven’t heard it yet. If only because this band was really doing their own thing. It’s a shame they’re no longer together.

Recommended tracks: ‘Symbiont -Chapter II- (Welcome To My World)’, ‘C.H.A.O.S.’, ‘Helleraser’

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