ACID REIGN - The Age of Entitlement
Release date September 27/19 (Dissonance Productions)
A little history lesson before we get into this one. Acid Reign grabbed the attention of thrashers around the globe in the late 80's and early 90's with an EP (Moshkenstein) and two full lengths (The Fear and Obnoxious), the latter two of which still sit in my top-albums-of-the-year lists. The U.K. based unit differentiated themselves from the pack by cramming multiple rhythm changes into each track, miraculously retaining listeners attention, despite its complexity, through an unerring ear for catchy, superior riffs.
Unfortunately, Obnoxious failed to attain critical and fan approval (not sure why, it's a fantastic platter to these ears) and the band dissolved into the mists of time.
Out of the blue we now have a new album from the "U.K. Apple Core" extremists some 29 (!) years later. To say that I was excited to hear the results would be an understatement, given the lofty perch on which I place the band's previous work. I was pleased as punch to hear that original vocalist H was involved, but was left concerned regarding the lack of any other original members. Can they recreate the same magic with such an overhauled lineup?
The quick answer is "fuck yeah". While the instrumental opener "T.A.O.E." comes across as something that would open a Slayer album, Acid Reign return to form the rest of the way, with quirky rhythm changes aplenty over which H barks out lyrics in his inimitable way. To these ears, this sounds exactly like the record you would envision the original unit could have produced three decades later. That this band was able to create something so true to the original, despite the extent of the roster changes, is beyond mind blowing.
Plenty of highlight tracks here, but special mention given to second track 'The New Low', which sets the tone early, along with the short and speedy 'Ripped Apart' and the concluding Anthrax-crossed-with-Nile (!) 'United Hates'. Regardless, this is one of those albums that grows on you the more listens you give it given the plethora of ideas being blasted at you throughout. Welcome back the Acid Reign everybody!