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PROTECTOR - The Heritage (12" LP)

Germany | Thrash/Death
Price Range:   $17.95
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Mastered for vinyl by Patrick W. Engel/ Temple of Disharmony

Protector's third full-length album starts off with a peaceful intro... wait, is that a bird singing? But no, don't let yourself be deceived - "A Shedding of Skin" is a most lethal and savage piece of thrash metal madness: It gives us thirteen tracks of most refined, most extreme and ripping thrash metal, constantly keeping up the highest level of thrash metal craftsmanship - just listen to the brutally well executed title track and you know what I am talking about! This album is an impressive display of Protector's very own blend of thrash and death metal influences that made the three-piece from Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony a force in its own right.

Wait, three-piece? Yes, indeed: On "A Shedding of Skin", guitarist Olly Wiebel had also taken over vocal duties, what reduced Protector to the typical power trio format, now consisting of Olly together with bassist Ede Belichmeier and drummer Michael Hasse (R.I.P. 1994).

The savage masterpiece was recorded during August 1991 at the Musik LAB Studio in Berlin. The songs for "A Shedding..." were written, rehearsed and recorded by Olly Wiebel and Michael Hasse. During the recording process, the two were assisted by Matze Grun, who later would join Protector to replace Ede Belichmeier, and Ken Kennedy of Criminal Justice fame (some might also know him from his short stint with Tankard). "A Shedding of Skin" was first released by Major Records International.
Soundwise there is nothing "A Shedding of Skin" leaves to wish for, which is due to the man responsible for the recordings: For their third album Protector worked together with Harris Johns, one of the most prolific European music producers for rock and metal, who also worked for and together with Kreator, Voivod, Tankard and Sodom... - just check out the impressive list of albums he has to his name. Olly Wiebel puts it simply: "Working with Harris Johns was great, very professional, and you definitely can hear that on the record. I think that 'A Shedding of Skin' is a real masterpiece."

The release was followed by a small tour together with Funeral Nation and Ravenous, for which Matze Grun already took over the bass position. The shows were all well-attended and the album received a mass of enthusiastic reviews. German Rockhard called it "a great leap forward", especially with regard to the songwriting and - no wonder - to the sound quality. Parallels were drawn between Protector and French outfit Massacra, as Protector were now leaning even more to the death metal side of things. Olly Wiebel's vocal performance was compared to Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost) and Martin von Drunnen (Asphyx).

For the re-release on High Roller, "A Shedding of Skin" has been especially re-mastered for vinyl by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony. Olly is certain that both old and new fans will like this release very much, especially as it will come with yet another bunch of previously unreleased pictures from the Protector archives.

Ulrike Schmitz

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