Spread the metal:

Reviewed:  November 2020
Released:  December 2020, Pride & Joy Music
Rating:  3/5
Reviewer:  Buddy H

I must confess that, while I have heard Squealer before and have listened to them sporadically throughout the years, I am not as familiar with them as I would like to be.  With that being said, I began listening to their latest offering, INSANITY, without prejudice or bias.  48 minutes later and…

Whew!  What a ride!  Call me crazy, but imagine for a moment that some mad scientist took parts of Gamma Ray and Annihilator along with just a small dash of Metal Church and combined them to create an entirely new metallic beast.  That new beast would be Squealer!  Is this a bad thing?  Nope, not really, but more on that later.

The album begins like a blast from a cannon with “Into Flames”.  The verses, which are pure thrashy goodness, give way to soaring melodic power metal choruses complete with precision double kick drumming. Blistering trade-off solos played over breakneck speed rhythms follow and close a fantastic opener.  From here on out, the remaining tracks alternately flirt with melodic power metal and thrash metal, sometimes combining the two styles within the same song.  The drumming is strong and dynamic and never boring.  The bass never takes the stage front and center, but you are always aware of its bottom end presence.  The rhythm guitars are thick and meaty yet clear and defined. Impressive dexterous solos are appropriately placed within the context of each song.  Vocally, all you have to do is remember the parts from above that make up this beast called Squealer, and you know exactly what you’re getting.

To be certain, this stylistic combination of power and thrash metal serves up a very eclectic batch of goodies.  And, I think therein lies my only struggle with this album.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind song diversity within albums. It prevents monotony.  But, when Squealer are ripping and tearing at my ears a-la Annihilator, that is what I expect and want to continue for the duration of my sacred listening time.  After a good Jeff Waters like beating, I’m taken a little off guard when the melodic sensibilities of Kai Hansen show up and carry me away to another land. I know this all sounds very petty. Is the new offspring here greater or lesser than the sum of its parts?  I remain torn.  Make no mistake, the guys in Squealer are immensely talented and this is a great chunk of metal.  Give them a try!

Track Listing:

1.    Into Flames
2.     Salvation
3.     Bad Tasting Sin
4.     My Journey
5.     Low-Flying Brains
6.     Hunter Of Myself
7.     Insanity
8.     Lose Control
9.     Power Of Bliss
10.  Black Rain

Line Up:

Sebastian Werner – Lead Vocals
Michael Schiel – Guitars and Piano
Lars Döring – Guitars
Manuel Roth “M” – Bass Guitar
Peter Schäfer – Drums

Guest Musicians:
Bernhard Weiss – Vocals (track 10: Black Rain)
Zak Stevens – Vocals (track 10: Black Rain)
Roland Grapow – Guitar Solo (track 5: Low-Flying Brains)
Ingmar Kilppert – Piano (track 5: Low-Flying Brains)