Album Review: Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement

Acid Reign

Album Review: Acid Reign - The Age of Entitlement

When the new Acid Reign album landed on our desks at The Razor's Edge, it's safe to say there was a bit of excitement in the room. With a number of our writers all wanting to get their hands on this one, we decided to approach this differently. Rather than just one review we're bringing you two reviews of the same album!

Two different perspectives on Acid Reign's 'The Age of Entitlement' - reviewed by Carl Black and Jon Wigg!

Review by Carl Black

'The Age of Entitlement' is here. The wait is over, Acid Reign's fourth studio album is now upon us. 28 years in the waiting, we get to finally hear what fruits of the Acid Reign labour are like and what blood, sweat and tears sound like when creating an album over the past 5 years.

If Moshkinstien was a newly conceived species crawling from the mother of life, dragging its knuckles across the earth, then 'The Age of Entitlement' is homo-thrash-erectus. It's stood up, it's looking around, hunting for prey and is ready to take on the world as this new beast stomps across the terra firma.

There's plenty of reasons why this is such a killer album not least because of the band members themselves and the individual parts they play. Pete Dee and Marc Jackson are a tight rhythm section, who lay down foundations for each of the songs on this album. Paul Chanter and Cooky compliment each other perfectly, swapping solos, and harmonies across crunching riffs that punish the listeners. With this backing band the songs thunder along nicely, who would you want driving this behemoth beast? Howard 'H' Smith's vocals are a measured strike of brilliance. He has adapted his singing style and is more measured in his approach than on the earlier work. The vocals are reminiscent to post-hardcore sounds that Ray Cappo from the Youth of Today displayed when he formed Shelter.

Each song has its own identity. We have 10 songs with distinct features on each of them. They are unique within themselves but have a deep Acid Reign core running all the way through each of them. The album takes us through a whistle-stop history lesson of thrash metal with the deep Acid Reign core at its heart, we get to explore various fresh and different styles of thrash, including crossover, ('Sence of Independence') punk and hardcore ('Ripped Apart') and progressive thrash ('Hardship' - with its time changes and arrangements, this reminded me of justice era Metallica) as well as straight up thrash metal ('United Hates'). Even a punk, thrashed up cover version of a Suzanne Vega song 'Blood Makes Noise' touches the more commercially acceptable side of thrash and 'The New Low' is a perfect choice for the lead single. Not forgetting the masterpiece of the album, 'Within the Woods'. The thoughtful sleep of the album.

A quick word on the production, Jayce Lewis has done an exceptional job of placing the sound in the halfway house between a measured and calculated production and an organic and real sounding album. The mix is massive and loud. There is no filler on this album, just ten songs that will not only please hardcore fans that have known of the reboot for the last five years but will also connect with fans who may not have necessarily known them years ago. Or fans that have not realised that Howard H Smith is back with a collection of artists that can produce a contemporary, evolved, thrash metal album. In true old school style, the closing vocals are classic... FUCK YOUUU!!!.

An important release for UK metal. Well worth the wait.

Acid Reign

Review by Jon Wigg

Being a massive fan of the original iteration of Acid Reign, when singer Howard 'H' Smith announced the reboot in 2015, I for one was elated and worried at the same time. With only H from the classic line-up (although not for the want of trying by H), would this be a cover band, or something more?

I knew of the prowess of bassist Pete Dee from the excellent thrashers Kremated and others joining were, on guitars, Dean 'Cooky' Cook and Paul Chanter, and on drums, Marc Jackson.

The first live shows demonstrated that this unit was tight, mean and a force to be reckoned with. Two singles followed - 2015's Plan of the Damned and 2017's The Man Who Became Himself, both of which had real menace and skill. But this 10 song slab, 'The Age of Entitlement', takes Acid Reign up another level and for me, is up there with this year's best releases.

We start with the instrumental 'T.A.O.E.' which builds slowly before the thumping beat takes over, leading into 'The New Low'. This has a very classic 80's thrash feel with high tempo verses which bang along before the catchy chorus kicks in. As the first single from the album, this was a great choice and example of what was to come. '#NewAgeNarcissist' is next up, and this again is a ripping thrasher with staccato riffs followed by flowing thrash sections.

The lyrics provide a commentary on the current state of affairs in the country especially relating to social media. 'My Peace Of Hell' trips along with some great guitar solos towards the end. A cover of Suzanne Vega's 1992 'Blood Makes Noise' follows and this is a proper punk version which pays a great homage to the original and is guaranteed to go down well live. 'Sense Of Independence' is another old school thrasher which has up tempo section with stomping moshing parts and more great solos.

'Hardship 'starts slower with some more traditional thrash riffs. In the middle you can hear some definite '...And Justice For All' influences which fit in very nicely. 'Within The Woods' for me is the highlight of the album. Based on Sam Raimi's horror short of the same name that spawned Evil Dead and it's sequels. This again has a great punk feel in the verse and a chant-able chorus - Join Us indeed! 'Ripped Apart' shows more of the punk influence that runs throughout the album and is two minutes of pure brutality. The album finishes us off with 'United Hates', which has a very 80's slow melodic opening before the riffs kick in and blasts the listener into submission.

All members of the band are excellent throughout and there is a level of skill and musicianship that is often missing from modern metal releases. The production is also great and the whole thing just sounds fantastic. H's voice fits in perfectly and you can really hear the vitriol in some of the songs. The influences of the band run through the album and complement the more traditional feel. Overall  this is a classic 80's thrasher for the modern Age of Entitlement.


H sat down with us last week to talk all about the new album. You can read all his thoughts here.

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