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An Evening With Acid Reign Frontman Howard H. Smith

And now for something completely different. We almost exclusively report on live shows at Metal Underground, but every now and then, there's an event which calls out to us and our love of metal which doesn't see a guitar strummed or a drum beat. This evening at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, London, Howard H. Smith, comedian and frontman of one of Britain's most beloved thrash metal bands, Acid Reign, was joined by a few dozen people to hear his stories of the heyday of thrash and life in a metal band.

It's difficult to talk about a spoken word set without giving away much or spoiling the material, which I certainly don't want to do. H opened up with humour and a genuine likability, which made the anecdotes not just entertaining, but relatable and therefore, touching. Anyone who's ever been in a band will find a connection in his recollection of Acid Reign's formation, gigs and internal problems, the last of which he covers respectably by refusing to bring anybody's name into the negative aspects.

For all the expected tales about the key moments of Acid Reign, there are some really surprising and frankly hilarious stories. For any of you who caught the Nuclear Assault/Dark Angel/Acid Reign tour and wondered where Dark Angel bassist Mike Gonzalez had got to, H has one hell of a story for you, which is hysterical to begin with, but soon becomes very sobering. That tour alone contains so many amazing instances and happenings that the show is worth going to for those alone, in particular the way Danny Lilker does the simple things in life like run or dispose of a bag of weed, not to mention the rumble between the tour's lineup and a German wedding party.

Ultimately, the ninety minutes absolutely flew by, which is an astonishing accomplishment for one man and a microphone but H holds his own perfectly by being as down to Earth and personal with a group of people as he would with one person in a pub, making the show that much more enjoyable since the audience member almost forgets there are other people there. For thrash fans, this is an absolute must see, even if you're not familiar with Acid Reign, you'll hear about his unique experiences with the likes of Anthrax, Destruction and Exodus, as well as the brilliant way Acid Reign introduced themselves to fellow British thrashers, Lawnmower Deth. With a new album, their first in twenty nine years finally set to be released next year, this was a perfect way to reacquaint one's self with one of Britain's best thrash bands in a way that very few fans get the chance to. Do not miss him!

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Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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