Back in the day, the UK may have been a little late to the thrash party but there were plenty of bands wanting to make their mark. One of those bands is Acid Reign who were formed in 1985 and were picked up by Music For Nations’ subsidiary label Under One Flag on the back of a demo which became the Moshkinstein EP. Releasing their debut full length The Fear in 1989, Acid Reign managed to hook up to some major tours with bands such US thrash heavyweights Exodus and Death Angel before releasing one final album – Obnoxious – in 1990 before calling it quits in 1991. And now some 29 years later the band return with a brand new album, The Age Of Entitlement.
It’s not the first new music that we have heard from Acid Reign with the 2015 announcement that the band had “rebooted” with sole original member Howard “H” Smith at the forefront, a single in Plan Of The Damned was released to much acclaim. A tour with reactivated fellow Brit thrashers Xentrix, a riotous headline of the Sophie stage at Bloodstock 2016 and then a further single The Man Who Became Himself in 2017 had Acid Reign on a roll, a reboot that was on fire but none of that can prepare for how spectacular The Age Of Entitlement actually is.
Acid Reign are not messing about and The Age Of Entitlement is a breathless listen, one of those where the ‘go around again’ is immediate. The first standout is the crisp production which does a terrific job of making the already sharp songs teeth grindingly punchy but from a sound perspective, the way that the production accentuates each of the instruments is totally brilliant. Then there is the atmosphere, one of belligerence which really drives the album. The Age Of Entitlement is that child having a tantrum in the supermarket, it is the sea gull that nicks your chips…it really is an angry and punky beauty.
Beyond the instrumental T.A.O.E, first song proper The New Low kicks the engine into life, choppy chords and drums that threaten to blow out the speaker cones. There is a shattering dissonance to the track, the in-your-face vocal lines in the verses are just outstanding, the melody of the chorus is a real surprise before switching back to the aggression. Anyone that has seen the video for the tune and the sweat on H’s face as he leers into the camera just gives a visual of what is one hell of an opening statement. New Age Narcissist is more melodic but no less powerful. My Peace Of Hell is a total neck wrecker as does a fantastic Blood Makes Noise, a punky cover of the Suzanne Vega classic and which features Vega herself. Within The Woods is by far the longest track on the album and already something of a fan favourite. Lyrically, appearing to be an ode to The Evil Dead movie the song features some effects and does not lack atmosphere and still throws down with gargantuan riffs and more than manages to hold the attention.
Ignore the negatives and the frankly laughable mentions of “boomer thrash”; Acid Reign were what they were then and they are what they are now and the band have not just headed out to keep romantic purveyors of nostalgia happy by picking up from where they left off. Yes, the return of Acid Reign may remind of us of those heady days and younger years but The Age Of Entitlement is today and it is a shot in the arm comeback worth celebrating. Acid Reign is having a blast and long may it continue because it is a storming album and as a result, 2019 belongs to them.