Sacred Reich was one of the earliest thrash bands I ever got into. Coming out of Arizona in 1985, the band was on the cutting edge of speed and thrash, and incorporated a bit of a punk influence into their music–which I was too wet behind the ears in 1988, the year I first heard them, to appreciate at the time. “Surf Nicaragua,” one of the band’s most famous songs that was on an EP that came out that year, is a prime example of the politically-tinged heavy metal that was quite popular in the 1980s. It’s amazing to me that few people even really remember what the context of the song was at the time. In the 1980s the administration of Ronald Reagan continually sought to undermine the Communist-leaning regime of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, even going so far as to supply anti-Ortega rebels, known as the “Contras,” with funds diverted illegally from secret sales of weapons to Iran. I recall during the late 1980s there was widespread speculation that Reagan would get us involved in a war in Nicaragua which would be a repeat of Vietnam. That’s the background to this very catchy and iconic song from Sacred Reich.

At the time of this particular recording, however–which was taken at Wacken Open Air in 2007–U.S. meddling in Nicaragua was ancient history. Yet Sacred Reich is still going strong, and this remains one of their best and most well-known songs. I’m definitely in this audience somewhere, as I was at W:O:A 2007 and remember this performance specifically.

Have a thrash-tastic weekend, and Shabbat Shalom! \m/