Monday, July 12, 2010

Breaker - Dead Rider (1985)

Breaker was a rather obscure German heavy metal band whose near claim to fame would be that it once involved several members of the better known thrash act Accu§er, itself lost in the shuffle of its far more talented contemporaries. They formed in 1983, put out this one album with a cheesy robot driving a motorcycle through some flimsy wall, and couldn't even choose a good logo or title font for said album. Okay, maybe the wall was supposed to be made of metal, as we can tell from some of the dislodged panels. So a fucking robot drives a motorcycle through a barrier of sheet metal. Fantastic. I am simultaneously impressed and intimidated.

Now, the music is not entirely atrocious, with a filthy appeal to it that might thrill seekers of the first two Running Wild records, or late 70s to mid 80s sounds by either Judas Priest or Accept. Eberhard Weyel has a certain level of grit to his vocals that served him reasonably well in both this band and his later thrashing, and the band simply plug in and churn out some vicious, bitter material that certainly pushes the speed limit for Germany's traditional, NWOBHM-derived bands. Of course, by 1985 we had artists like Destruction, Sodom and Kreator forcing these boundaries with far greater force, so you're unlikely to hear Dead Rider and be impressed by the violence on hand.

But the faster the better for this Breaker, as proven in the savage "Rapist Killer", where Weyel's vocals take on a tone similar to Frank Knight on the later X-Wild records. The guitars simply surge through the almost punk-dominated chords, the leads blaze across the bridge and you feel like you just had your ass stomped outside some German pit stop. "Shout Out Loud" is pretty sloppy, but the Running Wild-like chords and the vicious Weyel create enough fun to weave through a junkyard like a pack of rats with tire irons, smashing every bit of glass that remains intact. Likewise, "Lucifer's Dream" has some sinister, cruel guitar riffs that grate over rather laissez-faire, but bad ass cruising drum beat. You've also got a fairly typical lament of the finer sex in "Cold hearted woman", though this is more of a Sunset Strip hard rock tune with a more metallic twist; and another high speed rager in "Born to Rock".

A few of the more controlled, mid to slow paced tracks like "Together We Are Strong" and "Dead Rider" don't seem to be firing on so many cylinders, and the result is that the album seems to wax and wane the listener's level of excitement. The vocals simply can't carry all the riffs, and while a few are exciting in the context of their songs, there are preciously few that evince more than a short-term spark of memory. Like so many albums of the day, it can't figure out if it wants to be outrageous hard rock in the Twisted Sister vein, or pure German speed and fury. Had they gone all out with the latter, they could have developed a truly hammering, dangerous and fun sound. But it just wasn't to be, and we're left with this almost completely forgotten legacy in the dust by the highway, the rust flecked off robot and motorcycle alike as it waits the final corrosion to wipe it completely from existence.

Verdict: Indifference [5.75/10]

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