RSS Feed

The Big Teutonic 4: Part II EP

Nuclear Blast (2015)
Rating: 7/10

If anyone ever asks me for a lesson on German thrash metal, then in future I think I’ll just point them in the direction of this four-track compilation EP. Kreator, Sodom, Destruction and I guess to a lesser extent Tankard, were the European equivalent, or more so opponents to, US thrashers Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, who were the original “Big Four” as touted by the press and fans.

Tankard were certainly highly regarded for their beer-drinking thrash romps, but for me were not in the same league as the above German trio and decades later – for me, anyway – they remain thrash titans, probably up there with Overkill, Exodus and Testament for keeping the true thrash flames alive, although it is no doubt still a very controversial subject when it comes to naming the best or truest thrash titans.

Anyway, politics aside, this excellent although brief EP throws together the four German behemoths who in turn present to us some classic cover versions. The release (obviously) follows on from a first volume which saw Kreator cover ‘The Number Of The Beast’ (Iron Maiden), Sodom presenting ‘Iron Fist’ (Motörhead), Destruction coming armoured with ‘The Hammer’ (Motörhead) and Tankard covering ‘The Prisoner’ (Iron Maiden).

This time round we get more recognisable British classics, with Kreator speeding through Raven’s ‘Lambs To The Slaughter’, Sodom belting out Tank’s ‘Don’t Walk Away’, Destruction puking up Saxon’s ‘Princess Of The Night’ and Tankard bringing ‘Iron Maiden’ from… do I really need to say?

Okay, so I’m assuming these aren’t new covers. After all, I’ve heard Kreator’s version of ‘Lambs To The Slaughter’ numerous times, and first heard it on their 1988 EP Out Of The Dark… Into The Light. For me, it still remains a gem of a cover, with Mille Petrozza’s vicious vocal sneer adding extra levels of dehydration to John Gallagher’s original spout.

Destruction’s cover of the old Saxon chestnut also works; more so musically, because there’s no arguing that Saxon were so influential to so many thrash bands all those dusty years ago. ‘Princess Of The Night’ works as a thrashier groove, especially since Destruction has over time appreciated the art of melody. As for Tankard’s take on the classic Iron Maiden track, well, this works too as Gerre’s vocals inject a boozy, riotous nature while the galloping riff and drum remains clinical and quite honest to the original.

I guess of all the tracks, the only one which doesn’t sit well with me is Sodom’s take on Tank’s ‘Don’t Walk Away’ because although musically it remains a boozy bar room mash up, I expected more grease from a band who recorded Motörhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ so well. Maybe the vocal from Tom Angelripper seems a tad tame or Sodom have simply picked the wrong tune to cover, but there’s still that oily menace in the riff and a nice hiss in the drum. At the end of the day though, it’s all for fun and frolics, and thrash collectors everywhere should be snapping up this quartet of tunes.

Those of you just getting into metal should most certainly check out the originals first, because if it weren’t for them then we simply wouldn’t have the Big Teutonic Four. While not a necessity for general fans of any of the bands, this compilation is good to drink a few cans to after a hard day’s toil.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories