SQUEALER – Behind Closed Doors (Album Review)

SQUEALER – Behind Closed Doors

Another German thrash metal band from the 80’s reforms.  Squealer returns after a lengthy hiatus and a few line up changes.

Up until I had placed the headphones on my head to take in the tunes, I had never heard of this band and hoped on first listen that I’d wish I had discovered them way back in the early 80’s.

As the first track “Madnecessity” spins into action, we are greeted by what sounds like the opening titles of a low budget horror movie. Followiing on, in come the violins and we’ve gone up a few dollars in budget to A Nightmare On Elm Street. The orchestral section builds and builds and I’m then praying that the crescendo will be amazing.

Even though the first track was just an instrumental opener, as it built and built, it finally burst into a powerful double kick and a grinding guitar riff that totally reminded me of the great Judas Priest.

“Behind Closed Doors” is definately an 80’s thrasher with great production. I love the guitar tone on this album, as it sounds full and with lots of bottom end. There’s some cool little riffs thrown in all over on this song and the vocals aren’t bad either. Once the chorus comes in though, it’s not thrash anymore Dorothy, it’s German Euro Metal and it’s a little weird. The solos are powerful and widdly as all thrash solos should be, but that chorus is a band trying too hard to be thrash one minute and praying for commercial success the next.  In addition, the last 40 seconds of the track are extremely weird and unnecessary.

A nice little 80’s rocking riff opens up “Time Goes By” and then the heavily accented vocals come in and it’s totally not thrash anymore. It reminds me a bit of a Dokken tune. That big chorus is all over the place, and used a little too much for my ears, but catchy all the same. Around the two minute mark, there’s a cool little breakdown just before the solo comes in, which is expected for this era of music. The whole section has good flow to it and is the best thing I’ve heard so far from Squealer.

A cool little guitar part kicks off “Dream Shot“, which then flows into a nice little rolling riff and then we’re back into 80’s thrash territory with Squealer. The one thing I like about this album so far is it’s variety.  It’s not exactly what it says on the tin but it’s made for a very interesting listen up to now. Again, I like that guitar sound this band have; the riffs are raw and powerful and fit the track perfectly. They definately should have given the kick drums a bit more bottom end to match the guitars.  This would have given the album a whole different dynamic. Around the three minute mark, there’s an awesome building guitar solo that’s wailing away all over the place and the under riff is the perfect fit for it, as it builds and builds.

Foolish Man’s Invasion” starts off with a heavy ass riff. This one is pummelling, as the vocal track pours in over it. This is as heavy as shit and I like the vocals, especially as it breaks into the chorus. To me personally, this is the best track on the album so far. Again, as the solo comes in, there’s a fine little riff that accompanies it and it sounds sweet to my ears as does the solo.  Let’s be honest, if you’ve been playing since the 80’s, you should be damn good at what you do by now.

Into The Past” begins with a creepy little picked riff, flecked with bits of crunch here and there, which make it even more ominous. The vocals come in and give it an even more creepy edge. The bass plugs away, but then it’s all brought down a peg or two with that Euro Metal chorus and all the “whoah whoahs“. Then, around the four minute mark, it all kicks into high gear and we’re back into Speed Metal territory and I’m bouncing off the walls like a kid on Ritalin.

A nice heavy, deep, crunching riff announces “Brainwash” and the vocals fit perfectly. This reminds me of old school thrash like the band Exodus. The chorus is almost comical on this one, where it sounds like the whole band comes in with harmonic falsettos. Thankfully, that’s all saved by the as usual powerful solo that just rages before we get back to business. I still can’t get over that group falsetto though!

A nice clean guitar part starts off “Fate“, which is then followed by a nice 80’s rock style riff that reminds me a little bit of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir“. Oh no, there’s that falsetto gang chorus again. Why, why, why?  Whoever thought that was a good idea should get fired. It’s not a bad song though, but there’s a lot of elements of other bands I hear throughout this. There’s some great wailing 80’s style solos on this throughout and (apart from the falsetto) it’s a good track.

The next track sounds so different to the rest. “Modern World Maniacs” gets ushered in with a cool little riff that bounces under the vocals. It sounds a little like Metallica.  Following it, in comes this unusual little chorus that sounds so out of place but I think that’s why I like it so much.  I like chaos sometimes and this track is chaotic to me.

The sound of electricity and a haunting guitar part pulls in “Worlds Collide“, followed by an unusual little riff and some very clean vocals. This guy hasn’t got a bad voice when he’s really singing. The bass line and the guitar reminds me of Megadeth. Little solo parts between the vocals are strong and keep me listening. I like this track, even the chorus with gang vocal sounds good among the array of guitar pieces going on in the background. When the solo comes in at around the four minutes mark, there’s a change in pace and the solo that’s played throughout is strong, with a nice little underlying riff. I love this solo, as it has so much feeling and emotion.

MOTM” sounds at the start like it comes from the swamps of Louisiana. The riff that kickstarts the song sounds like one from  Corrosion Of Conformity or Down, until the chorus comes in and then it enters another territory altogether. Apart from the chorus, this is a direction I think Squealer should experiment more with.  They sound really good using this style. I like the track, even though it’s unusual in that it fits two completely different styles together and there’s even a weird church organ piece that comes in over the breakdown.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, I loved the record. When it first started, I thought “oh, just your usual 80’s thrash band“.  However, there’s so much variety throughout the whole album. Each song is different to the next.  Squealer really are committing a crime against themselves just calling it 80’s thrash.  Some of the Euro metal vocals make you roll your eyes, but the guitar work throughout is powerful and full. As I mentioned before, the kick drum should have been brought up in the mix too. This would have made it sound so much more different again. This band are worth your spending a few dollars on, so give ’em a try.


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