Release date: 27th September 2019 || Genre: Thrash || Label: Dissonance Productions
Acid Reign are back, with their first studio album in 29 years! Rebooting in 2015 with the single Plan Of The Damned, they went on to prove the new line-up (only featuring Howard “H” Smith from the band’s past) still had all the chops of a top tier live band.
The rest of the band now made up of Dean “Cooky” Cook, Paul Chanter, Pete Dee (Kremated/ex-Rogue Male), and Mark Jackson (Sin Theta/ex-M-Pire Of Evil), it has lost none of the lunacy for which it was previously known. Musically, however, some alteration can be noted. Bolted on to the UK punk/East Coast US thrash character which epitomised the band back in the day, are some enthralling additions. The big one is a move to a more percussive edge, stepping away from the traditional rasping thrash attack.
Some may find this an uncomfortable shift, but I think it is to be expected that their sound didn’t sit still. The bigger names in thrash, who persisted through the genre’s hardships, all developed over time. TAOE fits into this perfectly. More Low than Practice What You Preach. More Bush than Belladonna. It’s still rapid fire riffing for the most part, but also incorporates a further sinister edge. While the upbeat energy of old has endured – very noticeably on Blood Makes Noise – the album, in total, is tinged with what feels like a sort of dark melancholy.
It’s not quite the twin of The Fear or Obnoxious, but this stands alone as one of the best metal albums of 2019; you get classic AR, at full tilt, with the same intense intent, but with a heftier thump. Expect mass streams of stage-diving.