Released: 2000, Auburn Records
Cleveland’s Breaker is a legend amongst old-school metalheads, despite the fact that they only ever managed to release a single album in 1987. After a long wait, fan interest finally convinced the band to get back together, and they announced their presence with the ACCEPT E.P. in 1999. Then news leaked out that the band was planning to re-release their classic album, along with a vault-emptying extra disc. The result is this triumphant assault of GET TOUGH!/GET TOUGHER!.
Released in all its 80s-produced glory, GET TOUGH! Is still a fantastic listen, 18 years later. The thunderous riffs of “Lie to Me”, the Euro-metalized title track, the kitsch melody of “Behind Enemy Lines”, every wonderfully clichéd (nowadays) move of the 80s metal generation is here in its original glory. Sitting proudly atop the heap is Breaker’s most well-known song, “10 Seconds In”. An alternately brooding and fist-pumping song, it is a marvel of writing that is just not captured any more.
The reason that GET TOUGH! Endures is the timeliness songwriting and honesty imbued in the performances. You can hear the youthful exuberance in the band, the joy of metal they felt, and the album is the better for it. Sure, the production isn’t quite perfect, but this kind of emotion trumps all of the modern clinical shit any day of the week.
As if having this gem on CD isn’t enough, we get another 16 full tracks from Breaker’s admittedly sparse vault. While the demo versions of songs like “10 Seconds In” and “Blood Money” sorely lack the power of their official counterparts, should-be classics like “Standing in the Light”, “Action”, and “Caught in Love” could have easily fit on GET TOUGH!. Others, such as the weaker “The Hurt” and “Cold Air” do not fare so well, showing the band was right to keep them away from scrutiny. Trumping all however, is the band’s singular achievement: the colossal “Still Life”. To those that have heard it, it instantly becomes their #1 Breaker song. Taking the brooding-to-brutal approach of “10 Seconds In” but speeding it up and giving it an anthemic chorus, the band excels like never before here. It is absolutely vicious, and worth the price of admission on its own.
While Breaker unfortunately fell by the wayside in their first go-round, they have thankfully taken pity on us. I know its been out for quite some time now, but if you haven’t already, snap this puppy up immediately!