Written by: EW on 21/07/2009 19:14:19

I'm being overrun by ze Germans! Let me make it clear I do actually love Germany. Yeh we (Britain that is, not have had our run-ins in the past and stereotyping is never not fun but as I sit here in miserable England where heavy metal gets next to no recognition in the mainstreams I find myself pining for a land that appreciates a bit of blue colour music like this. Not to mention that Wacken Open Air is happening in a couple of weeks and for the first time in 7 years I won't be gracing those fields with my presence. Oh Germany, where art thou?

And so we come onto Macbeth. The moniker may not be the most metal around but considering the bands turbulent history it turns out to be prophetically accurate. Formed in 1985, the band were known as Caiman between 1987-89 after 'Macbeth' had been forced to disband by the East German authorities, at that time still behind the Iron Curtain. Split no.1 then came about following the suicide of singer Detlev Wittenburg in 1989, before reformation preceded split number 2 following the death in 1993 of drummer Rico Sauermann. Alas, it was only after reformation no. 2 that their self-titled debut album was released in 2006, 21 years after initial formation. With a history like that I just want to give them a 10 and hope they finally get some luck on their side!

"Gotteskrieger" is by and large a modern thrash record, however the pace that dripped out of every nook and cranny in the olden days has been replaced by a style that takes as much interest in groove, moments of modern Candlemass and the odd sweet Testament lick as it does in destroying your neck after one listen. "Gotteskrieger"'s production, namely clear, concise and note perfect, lends itself towards Amon Amarth comparisons above all else. But I hear you saying "You idiot! It can't be thrash, Amon Amarth and Candlemass-ian in nature! Learn your metal!" but it's true. Listen to "Maikaefer Flieg" - the rolling riff style that is the epitome of a great Amon Amarth song is present here, as it is in many others. Regrettably "Maikaefer Flieg" does also feature THE worst attempt at female vocals I have ever heard. Infact, said vocals are so vapid and soft I cannot work out if they are provided by a 7-year old girl, boy, or a quaint woman but what I do know is that they ruin an otherwise alright song.

The title track wrestles the Slayer and Testament comparisons down to the ground, as does the stabby staccato "Golgotha" with it's own comparisons to Pantera and Candlemass. Importantly, for those of any dispositions towards Germany, all lyrics are sung in German, which seems somewhat right given how gruff Olli Hippauf sounds. "Gotteskrieger" is going to get a higher mark than the post Narnia and Rebellion it is being posted with, and so compared to, for combing the expectant German heavy metal sound with other influences, whether they be common or not, resulting in an album much closer to 'gut' than 'scheiße'.

Download: Gotteskrieger, Unter Dem Beil
For The Fans Of: Slayer, Testament, Pantera
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 24.07.09
Massacre Records

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