PROTECTOR, The Return of Thrash and Madness (2011, demo)
Ah, the ol’ skull and flying V crossbones. We’ve seen this before, I think. Actually, looking ahead, SKULL582 is basically the same thing. Mark your calendars: on August 5, 2014 you’re gonna feel some wicked deja vu. Anyway, Protector. It’s hard to tell in this image, but those things in the eyes appears to be flags, and the one on the left features that upright Swedish lion dude. I’m guessing the other one is some kind of German flag, to represent Protector’s migration from the former European capital of metal to the current one. Also, one guitar is inscribed with 666, and the other with 777, perhaps to signal the music on this demo will appeal to fans of both Slayer and Stryper. Which, it should go without saying, would be a total lie. So, this is definitely more 666 than 777. Let’s call it 721.5.
Although I love the big three German thrash bands, and a fair number of the also-rans (eg Exhumer, Accuser, and some bands that don’t end in -er), I never got into Protector. This could be in part because even in the early 90s, when I was beginning to amass my legendary music collection, Protector discs were already hard to come by, and the band was not good enough for me to pay collectible prices. The situation has only gotten worse since then, and Protector sure as hell haven’t gotten any better, as this comeback cassette (!!!) sadly demonstrates. To compare them to another band, you’d have to imagine a missing link between the primordial rawness of Sodom’s early releases and the precision polish of the Frank Blackfire era. Protector are not sloppy players (although the drumming is not very interesting) but they just can’t write interesting riffs, and the vocals have always sucked. On one hand, I guess it’s nice for Protector fans that this release sounds so much like their “classic” material, but on the other hand, 2011 might have been a good time for the band to actually up its game. There are dozens of young (national) Swedish bands working exactly this same beat, and doing it better than Protector ever did, and none of THOSE bands are any good, really. Add in the rehearsal-room quality of this demo and you’ve got yourself one sad, sad comeback. But, at least they sound better than Assassin do now.
— Friar Johnsen