Sunday Old School: Acid Reign
British thrash metal rarely ever gets much of a mention whenever the genre is discussed. But a little bit of research (or if you don’t like reading, a new documentary film,) will show that there were plenty of quality thrash bands from the British thrash scene, and among the finest were Acid Reign. Acid Reign were formed in 1985 in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate by vocalist Howard "H" Smith, guitarist Gary "Gaz" Jennings, bass player Ian Gangwer and drummer Mark Ramsey Wharton. After slogging it out in small venues for two years, the group were able to record a demo entitled, "Moshkinstein" in 1987, which attracted the attention of Under One Flag Records (a subsidiary of Music For Nations which specialised in thrash metal and home of one of Britain’s most popular thrash bands, Onslaught.) They re-released the "Moshkinstein" demo through the label as an EP, which helped the group to secure support slots for other cult thrash metal stars such as Death Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam and Nuclear Assault, as well as Bay Area kings Exodus, striking up a friendship with the latter two.
Following the tour with Nuclear Assault, the band were finally able to release their debut full length album, "The Fear" in 1989. The album was something of an underground success, peaking at number ten on the UK Indie Charts and another tour with Nuclear Assault soon followed, taking the band across Europe, before they embarked on a tour with Dark Angel and Swedish doom metal act Candlemass.
They followed, "The Fear" with a second album in 1990 entitled, "Obnoxious," which, probably more than anything else, was known for its bright pink front cover and receding title (think the title screen from a shit eighties video nasty) and was subsequently voted the worst album cover of all time by Terrorizer. Initially, the music received mixed reviews, with some people complaining that the sound took some getting used to, but in time, a number of fans would claim it to be their favourite record in the Acid Reign catalogue.
Unfortunately, in 1991 the band parted company with Music For Nations and decided to disband soon afterwards. Guitarist Kev Papworth went on to join thrash jokers, Lawnmower Deth, while no less than three Acid Reign members would find themselves playing as part of Cathedral, in addition to other musical projects. Frontman "H" has also been busy, but on the comedy circuit, where he performs as the character, Keith Platt – Professional Yorkshireman, under the guise of which he introduced Lawnmower Deth on stage at the Download Festival in 2009. The band is still active via Facebook however, and recently released "The Fear Demos" via Bandcamp, which is available to download here. Acid Reign might not be one of the most well known thrash bands to come from Britain, arguably letting Onslaught and Sabbat have the limelight, but they were probably one of the best of their time and have left behind two solid albums, as well as one of the best covers of "Hangin’ on the Telephone" ever recorded.
Acid Reign - "Reflection Of Truths"
Acid Reign - "Humanoia"
Acid Reign - "Codes Of Conformity"
Acid Reign - "Creative Restraint"
Acid Reign - "Hangin' On The Telephone"
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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