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Protector - A Shedding of Skin (Reissue)

A Shedding of Skin (Reissue)
by Tommy Mulhern at 03 January 2022, 2:34 PM

Every year has a few events that the world would definitely have been a lot better off without and 1991 was no different. Some say the needless and imperialist War on Terror started in January of that year with the invasion of Iraq. Later that year METALLICA began their pointless and just as seemingly unending pop career with the release of their self-titled album. But one event that nearly didn't happen in 1991 but which the world actually really needed, was the recording of PROTECTOR'S third full-length album. While Bush and Ulrich were dreaming of world domination, two other guys in a Berlin studio were fighting to keep their band alive.

Formed in Wolfsburg Germany in 1986, it didn’t take long for PROTECTOR to build up a loyal fanbase at home and around Europe. Mixing the darker side of Thrash with Death metal they hit upon a style that was very versatile and wide ranging that allowed them to show off their obvious technicality while maintaining the speed and heaviness. They had a release every year since their inception, be that a live album or EP so it wasn’t a great surprise when they headed for the studio to record their third LP A Shedding of Skin. They had also had quite a few personnel changes down the years so when Hansi Muller left the band a few months before it hadn’t slowed the process. Unfortunately just before recording began bass player Ede Belichmeier called time too and the highly anticipated recording looked to be in trouble. But the remaining members, Michael Hasse and Olly Wiebel, soldiered on, even writing a big chunk of the album in the studio as they didn’t have enough material for an LP. To be fair there are places on the record that have been drawn out or repeated to fill time and one outright filler song but the vast majority of the music on here is pure, organic and preciously innovative. Oh and of course, catchy and heavy and all the rest. The mixing on the original was done by Harris Johns, who had worked with SODOM and KREATOR among others, but the production was slightly tinny even for the time. I’m glad to say that has been fixed on the re- issue as have the levels of the bass guitar which although I hadn’t missed on the original do add a great depth to their riffs now. My personal favorites off this are "Doomed To Failure", "Retribution In Darkness" and the title-track but I think this album is definitely one to be listened to from beginning to end. And I know I said there are filler moments but they all add to the real story here and that is how the remaining two members did all they could, in probably a time restricted environment, to keep the show on the road and produce a damn fine album.

No less of a story is what became of PROTECTOR since. Sadly, the driving force and co founder of the band Hasse died of a drug overdose in 1994. Undoubtedly a talented drummer and songwriter, the original essence of the band passed with him. Sometime after this a few of the interim members created a tribute band based in Sweden and then eventually this morphed into a band using the name and back catalogue that still play today. But the vision dreamt up in Wolfsburg in 1986 came to fruition in the summer of 91 and produced an album every death metal fan should know of. Anyone, and there were more than a few, who missed out on it in the 90s should definitely give it a try this time around.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8
Musicianship: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Mortuary Nightmare
3. A Shedding Of Skin
4. Face Fear
5. Retribution In Darkness
6. Doomed To Failure
7. Thy Will Be Done
8. Whom Gods Destroy
9. Necropolis
10. Tantalus
11. Death Comes Soon
12. Unleashed Terror
13. Towards Destruction
Michael Hasse – Drums
Olly Wiebel – Guitar, Bass & Vocals
Record Label: High Roller Records


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Edited 26 November 2022

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