Once again, Harrogate ‘80s thrash troops Acid Reign have touched down in Glasgow to kick start the weekend. British thrash metal hardly gets the attention of other national movements, most notably the United States, Germany and Canada. However, its ‘80s scene has developed an ardent fanbase in recent years, culminating in the release of Ian Gasper’s book last year, ‘Contract in Blood – A History of UK Thrash Metal’. With memorable musicians including Onslaught, Sabbat, Warfare, Sacrilege and Atomkraft, it’s certainly worth metalheads mining this underground scene and awarding it its due. Acid Reign is another accomplished ollective from this movement. Their career was relatively turbocharged; they formed in 1985, released their debut album ‘The Fear’ in 1989 and called it quits by 1991 as thrash metal around the globe began its decline. Time travel to 2015 and the band is reanimated with original vocalist Howard ‘H’ Smith rounding out the line up with new members.
The Audio is busy with chatter and beer drinking in the moments before Acid Reign hit the stage, unboxing intro ‘T.A.O.E.’ from their first post-reunion album ‘The Age of Entitlement’, released this September. This segues into ‘The New Low’, sharp modern thrash with fistfuls of clean melodic leads. Instantly the crowd is moshing and stage diving, the optimum environment for any thrash metal show. It’s a brilliant start to the show, making headbanging irresistible for most. Such momentum carries on for the entire performance and it’s fantastic to see that most of these moshers and stage divers are older than forty years old. This is mirrored by the band themselves – their age has no negative impact on their performance, particularly H who runs around the stage and expends his energy hyping the jovial punters.
Older numbers ‘Creative Restraint’, ‘Humanoia’ and ‘Goddess’ remain gristly and bold, contrasting with the new anthem’s refined and less caustic tone. The classic era of Acid Reign’s development mixes the most popular of US thrash sounds, melting together the assaults of vintage Exodus, Metallica, Anthrax. The riffs are fat enough to sink your canines in to and song structures are interestingly varied, effortlessly sustaining the listener’s attention. Most of the set is from the fresh reunion full-length album with most of it aired out. ‘The New Low’ insistently drills forward, ‘#newagenarcissist’ takes aim at today’s social media addiction and ‘Within the Woods’ features disorienting Necronomicon horror. The venue’s sound is commendable and the new line up is faithful to the fans’ favourite material. In between songs, H cracks some hilarious stage banter and shows his genuine appreciation at electrifying Glasgow.
After the creepy Noman Bates inspired ‘Motherly Love’ from the ‘Moshkinstein’ EP, Acid Reign shuffle off the stage wordlessly. The crowd refuse to budge and sure enough, the band returns to satiate them with an encore. New songs ‘United Hate’ and the frenetic ‘Ripped Apart’ slash through the crowd with a final frenzy of bouncing riffs and spirited enthusiasm. Leaving behind a thrashtastic set for the city’s metalheads to devour, Acid Reign prove they have still got it with a sincere and fun stage presence that puts many of the larger thrash acts that hit celebrity to shame.
- date performer venue price
Sat 30 May 2020
The Live Rooms
[CH1 3DR] £17.50
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