2019 has been a great year for metal. In March, Overkill released The Wings Of War, their 19th studio album (19th!!!), which retained their ridiculous winning streak. Also, Death Angel, Slipknot, Xentrix, Eradikator and Sacred Reich, to name but a few, released damn fine albums to keep metal fans in raptures. Even the mighty Tool graced us with a new release after 13 years!
However, 13 years is NOTHING compared to the wait for this band’s new album. The band in question are Acid Reign and they released their last full length studio album, Obnoxious, in 1990. Bloody good it was, too. But, shortly after, thrash metal trundled to a halt and the wheels came off for many a band, Acid Reign included.
And that was that. Except it wasn’t. In 2015, frontman Howard “H” Smith rebooted the band, recruited 4 new members and released the corking comeback single, “Plan Of The Damned“, revealing a more mature, more rounded, heavier and tighter band than before.
A 6 date UK Reboot tour followed – much to the delight of AR fans old and new – and in 2017, another single, “The Man Who Became Himself“, was released and proved to be another solid indication that Acid Reign were tapping into a well of creativity. Then talk of a new album emerged, exciting the thrash masses further more and when a track from the album, “The New Low”, dropped back in August, everyone’s appetite was whet all the more!
And here we are. The Age Of Entitlement (great title) is complete and will be released on 27th September, 2019.
But has it been worth the wait, we hear you cry?
In short, HELL YES!!
What we have here are 8 and a bit new tracks and a rather funky, punky cover of a Suzanne Vega song. It’s interesting to see that neither “Plan Of The Damned” or “The Man Who Became Himself” feature on the album.In our humble opinion, this decision makes the singles even more ‘special’ and the album even better. New tracks, no filler!
The Age Of Entitlement opens with T.A.O.E. (wonder what that stands for…?), a mid tempo, riff heavy instrumental intro that promises great things to come. It’s not wrong either, as the next track is the previously dropped “The New Low” and it’s a modern thrash classic in the making. Heavy, angry, pacy, home to a catchy as fuck chorus…..”H” also sings a bit here, the boy can croon when he wants to! An excellent start.
Next up is “NewAgeNarcissist” and the pace increases again. Featuring a strong message about those tosspots who live on, and live for, social media popularity, “H” sounds positively feral (as he does throughout) and “My Peace Of Hell” continues this high-speed ferocity. This is proper headbanging stuff and packs another formidable chorus.
These really are incredibly well structured songs and should delight fans of old-school thrash.
“Blood Makes Noise” is the Suzanne Vega cover and Acid Reign really do the song justice. The original is a mid tempo, funky, boppy, little ditty and Acid Reign have turbocharged this song and given it a real thrashy, punky feel; while still doffing a respectful cap to the original version. An able companion to AR’s renowned cover of Blondie’s “Hanging On The Telephone”, it’s a fun 2 minutes and we can hear why Ms Vega got in touch with the boys to give it her official thumbs up.
“Sense Of Independence” begins with a little Marc Jackson wizardry on the drums before launching into just under 4 minutes of thrashy mayhem. It ticks all the thrash boxes and is counter-weighted by the mid-tempo “Hardship”, featuring an epic intro which leads into another well constructed song which has you uncontrollably bopping along. Resistance is futile…a foot will tap or a head will bang to this outstanding song!
After an eerie intro, the longest and probably ‘slowest’ song on the album begins. “Within The Woods” is probably the most epic song on the album, too. It has a gruesome, Evil Dead-inspired, tale to tell and feels reminiscent of AR classic “Motherly Love”.
“Ripped Apart” follows and is an upbeat, lively tune, a guaranteed pit starter! Closing with “United Hates”, this fast, catchy, punchy, ranty, little number is an ideal showstopper. And it finishes with a massive FUCK YOU! Who’s not loving that, right?!
And we’re done. It’s fair to say that the quality of the production and the sheer songwriting prowess found all The Age Of Entitlement has resulted in a truly fantastic, superbly constructed, album. It must also be said that the rhythm section of Marc Jackson on drums and Pete Dee on bass is utterly superb. They create a solid foundation for “H”, Cooky and Paul to do their thing. And they all do their thing exceptionally well!
When Acid Reign announced that a new album was finally in the offing, it’s fair to say that the boys and girls of Worship Metal were extremely excited and hoped for one hell of a return. In actuality, The Age Of Entitlement has exceeded all of our expectations and then some. This is an outstanding modern thrash record and it deserves to sell by the fuckin’ truckload.
We’ll go further, we firmly believe this is the best thrash metal album of the year.
So, to finish, we’d like to give you lovely people two pieces of advice to genuinely improve your lives. Buy The Age Of Entitlement and buy a ticket to see the boys live. You will not be disappointed with either. 9/10