Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement

Formed in 1985, British thrashers Acid Reign went on to shares stages and tour with the likes of Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel, Exodus, Flotsam & Jetsam, Death Angel, and Candlemass as well as release mini album Moshkinstein in 1988 and subsequently full-length The Fear and Obnoxious. A final show at the London Marquee saw the band come to an end; that was until 24 years later when Acid Reign returned with a rebooted line-up. Now they have a new album ready to ignite the UK thrash scene, an incendiary device leaving most other offerings this year exposed to its rousing wake.

Like a great many we never had the pleasure of experiencing the band first time around but look set to devour its exploits this time around if The Age of Entitlement is just the beginning of things to come. Led by original vocalist Howard H Smith, Acid Reign thrust a fresh voracious breath upon the metal landscape through their new encounter. Instinctively, thrash metal and its protagonists share a core flavouring as seed to their individual exploits and Acid Reign are no different but they have embroiled it in a host of other rapacious flavours and imagination bred adventures which makes it easy to be greedy for more.

With a line-up completed by bassist Pete Dee, guitarists Paul Chanter and Cooky, and drummer Marc Jackson, Acid Reign quickly gripped attention with the drama of album opener T.A.O.E., a track pushing the senses with its war tempered wall of riffs bound in barbed acidic guitar wiring. With drums banging their own confrontational trespass and melodic flames further igniting its pure temptation, the inspiring instrumental leads to the ravenous jaws of The New Low. Immediately, the second track surges through ears, rhythms a punishing incitement as guitars and bass uncage their own ferocious catchiness. Wired hooks vein the tempest as Smith’s equally manipulative tones further inspire participation in a feral roar which had us quickly and fully locked in.

NewAgeNarcissist equally made brief work of recruiting neck muscles and fiercely flung limbs, Smith’s fierce tones and lyrics riding the insistence with similar dexterity. The swarm of grooves across the song devoured as they sparked the appetite, rhythms just as uncompromisingly fertile before the track unleashes a chorus only the deaf could ignore. Every moment within the ravening song though is pure virulence and creative prowess, qualities just as rampant within next up My Peace Of Hell, a track galloping through ears with nostrils flared and breath aflame. A punk ferocity adds to the theatre of persuasion as too the web of enterprise cast by the ever agile guitars with another galvanic chorus a viral topping to it all.

As mentioned there is plenty that is familiar to the thrash instincts of the band and its songs yet each merges them into a slab of individual confrontation and endeavour as shown yet again by both Blood Makes Noise and Sense Of Independence. The first springs a persistently infectious trespass of groove metal infused, punk dusted, rock ‘n’ roll; essences of bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves adding to the song’s gloriously insatiable holler while its successor growls with a barbarous grin as more extreme textures infest thrash rapacity. Even so melodic intimation and felicity bare the evocative heart of the song within one tempestuous climate of sound.

The hungrily swung antagonism and contagious face-off of Hardship and the demonic consumption of Within The Woods as ravenous as the Evil Dead themselves simply escalated the grip and impressive presence of the album, the latter eight minutes plus of creative adventure and pleasure nagging sonic acumen while Ripped Apart with carnal intent ravaged and devoured senses defenceless to its almost arrogant catchiness.

The album departs with United Hates, a predacious thrash scourge erupting from a scene of melodic beauty to remorselessly consume and ignite the senses. A deviously crafted yet primal assault of viral thrash brutality, it brings The Age of Entitlement to a close as exhilarating as its beginnings and indeed whole body.

It feels like British thrash is sowing the seeds to another heyday with the strength of releases this year alone, something surely even more certain if others can aspire to the bullish magnificence of Acid Reign and The Age of Entitlement.

The Age of Entitlement is out now via Dissonance Productions; available @ https://acidreign1.bandcamp.com/

http://acidreign.co.uk/   https://facebook.com/acid.reign.thrash   https://twitter.com/AcidReignUKAC   https://instagram.com/acidreignukac/

Pete RingMaster 11/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kill Ritual – The Eyes Of Medusa

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Having been thrilled and impressed by their debut album The Serpentine Ritual in 2012 and more than intrigued by the single Harder Than Stone earlier than this year, anticipation was high for the sophomore full-length from US metallers Kill Ritual. Though it probably took longer than its predecessor to fully convince, needing a more intensive attention and time discovering all of its twists and compelling turns, The Eyes Of Medusa easily feeds expectations and hopes with its inventive and diverse flavouring. The album is one which continues the band’s skilled fusion of thrash and heavy metal with a wealth of fiery additives as shown by their debut but pushes a wider imaginative adventure upon this potent canvas. There are moments where success ebbs and flows a little within the release but it is an unrelenting captivation which even in its less potent moments is never far away from igniting the imagination and a very healthy appetite.

Kill Ritual was formed in 2010 by Imagika guitarist Steve Rice and drummer Wayne DeVecchi, who continued their union to explore and push on the music they were already working on before the demise of the band. The line-up was soon completed by the addition of former Eldritch guitarist Roberto Proietti, former Dark Angel bassist Danyael Williams, and vocalist Josh Gibson. Released through Scarlet Records, the band’s brew of progressive and classic essences with a thrash driven core caught immediate attention through The Serpentine Ritual, a release which was unpredictable and compelling from start to finish. Unleashed by now a quartet of drummer Gee Anzalone (Brain Damage) alongside, Rice, Gibson, and Williams, The Eyes Of Medusa is much the same; whether an acceleration of its predecessor’s triumph is still in debate but certainly it is a release which stands by its side in quality, surprises, and enjoyment.

Mastering by Rice and Andy LaRocque (King Diamond, Hammerfall, InFlames), and produced by Rice, the GoldenCore Records/ZYX Music kill_ritual_The_Eyes_Of_Medusareleased album steals the passions instantly through its opening title track, the entrance of the song through a wonderfully nagging lure of jagged repetitious riffs immediate magnetism especially with the subsequent fall of heavy rhythms and dark throated bass strikes. The additional emerging web of melodic temptation only steals a richer intrigue before the proposition unleashes a charge of thrash bred voracity. The track surges with sinews flailing air and intent ravaging senses whilst vocally Gibson parades a strong and varied display which matches the equally eventful and resourceful narrative of the song. It is an impressive invitation into the album, guitars a fluid colour of imagination and craft across a canvas of hungry rhythms and riffing which highlights further the eloquence, raw power, and striking invention of the offering.

The following Hair Trigger struggles to match the stunning start though it still leaves a satisfaction which keeps attention and appetite fully locked into the release’s grip. A classic/power metal spine thrusts the track urgently through the ear, its thrash intent similarly loud and enveloping but the spark of ingenuity which veined the first is less vocal thus feeding expectations more. Despite that with another great vocal diversity to his presence Gibson alongside the guitar of Rice light the senses and emotions to please with a more than accomplished slab of muscle bound rock ‘n’ roll. Its successor Never Get Me is much the same, a very decent and engaging slice of metallic persuasion presented with the expected craft and enterprise of Kill Ritual but lacking that essence of originality and ingenuity which ignited the album’s start and much more of its body to come.

Ride Into The Night is prime heavy metal and like the previous pair satisfies but fails to light any fire in the belly of itself and the passions before The Eyes Of Medusa launches into a greater inventive turn to return to its earlier glory. Weight Of The World slams headfirst into ears with a storm of thumping rhythms, snarling riffs, and an intensive breath. Grooves entwine their infectious tempting around a reawakened hunger, lacing the ears with addictive bait matched in success by the again impressive range of vocal styles, the spoken dark tones irresistible, and a sonic enticement which sends sparks across air and senses. Virulently contagious the track has the pulse rate racing ready for the equally rapacious Writing On The Wall, a track which stands tall with vivacious rhythms framing sonic flames and rich melodic hues. It is a thoroughly captivating rampancy which throws an enthralling curve ball as the song flirts with gothic shadows and progressive textures whilst exploring its roaring imagination.

The seeming power ballad premise of Just Another Sin reinforces the wide songwriting skills of the band with its emerging predatory sound and carnivorous energy before My Little Sister provides the album with another pinnacle. A tempest of raw and dirty rock ‘n’ roll fed with an antagonistic metallic rabidity, the track stomps and seduces with old school breath and thrash voracity tempered and enhanced by melodic metal temptation. Veined by inescapable hooks and a barbed rhythmic slavery, it is a masterful capture showing the band as capable of rock pop as unbridled thrash consumption.

The album ends with another couple of triumphs to make it a must investigation of 2014, the first Unleashed employing the mix of darkly spoken vocals and scorched clean delivery again to great effect and persuasion within a similarly convincing antagonism of hard rock and heavy metal filtered by the aggressive skill which makes Kill Ritual a constantly rewarding protagonist. As the album, the guitar skill and enterprise of Rice seduces as does the impressive vocal variety and strength whilst rhythmically Anzalone and Williams makes an irrepressible cage. Final song Agenda 21 is our favourite, its sinister presence and continually changing character of sound scintillating. From a mix of Anthrax and ArcticFlame, the track turns into a bestial demon before another twist sees a funked up blaze with essences of Suicidal Tendencies to it, at times a more Infectious Grooves infestation thrilling. It is a glorious stomp with grinning mischief and insatiable ingenuity running riot across its creative and riveting body.

    The Eyes Of Medusa is another tremendous exploit from Kill Ritual which warrants close attention to its plentiful bounty as it provides a sizeable treat.

http://www.facebook.com/KillRitual

http://www.killritual.com

8/1o

RingMaster 04/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Kill Ritual – Harder Than Stone

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AS US thrashers Kill Ritual complete the recording of their second album The Eyes Of Medusa, with a planned release of next year, the San Francisco thrashers unleash new single Harder Than Stone. Whether the track will be on the upcoming release or not time will tell but such its pleasing craft and stature, the new song will only breed a sturdy appetite for itself and the following album.

The seven minute song was initially recorded during the basic tracking sessions of the excellent album, The Serpentine Ritual.  It is an extensive piece of adventure from the quartet of vocalist Crimson, guitarist Steven Rice (ex-Imagika), bassist Danyael Laughing Bear (ex-Dark Angel), and drummer Gee Anzalone, a single that teases, challenges, and thrills the senses with commanding riffs , demanding rhythms, and sonic temptation.

A vocal call beckons in winding grooves and punchy rhythms as the song begins with the guitar casting sonic flames through it all to singe the hairs that dwell within the ear. It is a potent entrance, an irresistible invitation soon given bulk by the roving drums and probing bassline scorched by the now fiery guitar play. The vocals of Crimson emerge with a mix of clean and crusty growls which exploit the twisting course of the song whilst the track itself switches through strides of Metallica like urgency, Suicidal Tendencies like punk devilry, and Exodus like melodic blazes. The track is a constantly engaging and shifting piece of invention that just wets the whistle for future things.

The single is probably not the best thing Kill Ritual has unveiled to date, there are moments where it falls a little flat, though debatably that is down to production more than song, but as a tempter for the forthcoming full-length it is an infectious hook which successfully completes its mission in sparking a truly strong appetite.

Harder Than Stone is released as a free download via Rock N Growl Records.

http://killritual.com/

8/10

RingMaster 09/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Anger As Art: Hubris Inc

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    Snarling and rampaging like an agitated and pissed off grizzly bear, Hubris Inc the new album from thrash metallers Anger As Art, is one carnivorous confrontation which has no qualms in turning the senses into a bruised and masticated victim subsequently crushed in hungry speed metal pleasure.  Released on Old School Metal Records, the fourth album from the Californian band is a fourteen strong furnace of shotgun powered slabs of thrash metal soaked in the original heart of the genre and driven by an intimidation and muscle drawn from the metallic viciousness of today. As expected it is a torrent of anger and often sheer spite conjured into aural flames which leave the ear wholly infatuated.

Formed in 2004 by vocalist/guitarist Steve Gaines (Abattoir, Bloodlust, Tactics, Bitch, Dreams of Damnation, Pagan War Machine), Anger Of Art has stood as a formidable encounter from their very first days, their self-titled and  Callous and Furor albums of 2006 and especially their last Disfigure in 2009, earning deserved acclaim for their merciless aggression and stirring enterprise. Hubris Inc though finds the band at their finest yet as Gaines, drummer Rob Alaniz (Abbatoir, Bitch), guitarist/vocalist Daniel Oliverio (Bitch, Abattoir), and bassist Henry De La Cruz (Maniacal Genocide), ransack the senses with accomplished invention and irresistible aggression.

The title track emerges with a coarse sonic wrap which with inciting rhythms stirs up the ear and beyond whilst a melodic flame hubriscoverscorches the air above them intriguingly. It is a fiery intro to the carnage to follow, a brief welcome which without any lasting burning makes a good avenue into the insatiable energy and malevolence of Time Devours Life. Riffs tumble and weigh forcibly upon the ear with exploitive greed whilst rhythms cascade around them with malice to form a flesh scarring encounter. As is a permanent compelling feature of the album, the bass of De La Cruz is a ravenous predator which fully ignites the passions, a gnarly beast chewing and menacing the senses with a steely merciless appetite, the following Gods of Hate the perfect example. Best song on the album, the track is a devastating onslaught of riveting riffing, annihilatory rhythms, and full blooded vocals cored by that delicious almost rabid bass sound. The song leaves the listener breathless and fully captured by its anthemic and voracious presence.

It arguable whether the album is offering much which has not already been investigated over the years within thrash and extreme metal in general, but it is hard to deny that Anger As Art have involved it into a rapacious storm all of their very own which leaves plenty of recent thrash bands and releases sounding lacklustre in comparison. Tracks such as the incendiary Speed Kills which features the excellent skills of Mark Caro from Abbatoir on lead guitar and with the other members also having featured in that band stands as the last new ‘Abbatoir song’, the tempestuous and wonderfully chaotic This is why I Hate, and The Evil you Create which has Steve Nelson from Evil Dead guesting on backing vocals, inflame and feed the passions only thrash metal can spark up perfectly, a claim the whole album can be attributed with fully.

Alongside Gods of Hate equalling pinnacles on the release come with the tremendous Pearls before the Swine, a raging torrent of crippling rhythms and sonic magnetism soaked in a brutal vehemence from riffs, bass growls and bone snapping beats from Alaniz, and the outstanding Head of the Snake. The second of the two meshes a fire of classic metal and trash into a potent and devouring sonic inferno which consumes and torches the ear and beyond with relish and infectious invention.

Also featuring amongst what are all impressive skilled assertions, the album offers up Rage and Retribution, a riot featuring the additional talents of vocalist Betsy Bitch, Jim Durkin of Dark Angel on lead guitar, and Timothy Gaines from Stryper on bass. With closer Never Forgive Never Forget, they make a forceful and highly satisfying climax to an album in Hubris Inc which is sure pleasure from start to finish. If you want true undiluted thrash metal than Anger As Art are your men.

www.facebook.com/angerasart

8/10

RingMaster 06/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kill Ritual: The Serpentine Ritual

One word speared thoughts as the debut album of US thrashers Kill Ritual unleashed its barrage of old school modern breathing sounds, exceptional. The Serpentine Ritual is outstanding, a release which just lights up the heart and captivates the senses as it chews on them with rabid glee. It is an adventurous album with no desires to break down new realms but just twists steadfast essences into something unique and thrilling to the band.

Kill Ritual formed in 2010 with Steve Rice and Wayne DeVecchi, ex-Imagika guitarist and drummer respectively, continuing the music they had began working on before the demise of their former band. Recruiting former Eldritch guitarist Roberto Proietti, former Dark Angel bassist Danyael Williams, and SF Bay Area vocalist Josh Gibson, the quintet began writing and working on their debut. The result a thrash driven sound with plenty of progressive and classic essences which combined makes The Serpentine Ritual released through Scarlet Records, one of the most enjoyable albums this year. It is a riotous beast of a record which recognises its target and unleashes slabs of essential and enterprising rock music to ensure capture. Imagine a fusion of Testament, Anthrax, Exodus, and Arcticflame and you get a measure of the hungry pleasure ready to explore upon the ear.

Produced by Steven Rice and Andy La Rocque, the album conquers appreciation immediately with the brilliant opening title track. The Serpentine Ritual is a song which stands there snarling and intimidating from its opening seconds, the scorched guitar spiral only reinforcing the muscular fire about to erupt. Once from its reins the track ravishes the senses with growling basslines, writhing and scything riffs, and a sonic whipping which just hits every sweet spot. The vocals of Gibson are instantly impressive and as track and album progress his stature just grows and grows. Beside his great delivery and range the predatory darker toned vocals add that extra shadow and devil to proceedings in the same way the heavy aggressive rhythms and bass stalk alongside the soaring guitar sonics and melodic invention. With a groove to seduce any resistance the song is a classic, arguably best thrash track this year.

The following Torn Down and Time TO Kill stand strong alongside the staggering starter, both in their distinct shapes, the first a classic bombardment of perfectly crafted venom and musicianship not to mention unbridled energy and the second a contagion of crippling rhythms and heart exploiting riffs. They are both songs which if they do not grab full allegiance suggests maybe thrash metal is not for you, such their irrepressible and irresistible classic presences.

Every song on the album is a boisterous and winning engagement, their towering aggression and intent an unstoppable infection of instinctive invention and domination brought through dazzling skills within energetic songwriting and sound, as ever though some tracks do rise above others for an individual though it is quite marginal to be honest. Tracks like Ambush and Cold Hard Floor alongside the opener ignite bigger fires of passion within compared to others. The first of the pair is a raw and bruising brute of a song where the band exposes extra malice and violence in their music, from the coarser delivery of Gibson to the merciless rhythms of DeVecchi and the destructive riffs. The latter song is a magnetic brew of classic rock n roll, a devil dance of majestic guitar play from Rice and Proietti completed by a brilliant guest solo from Andy La Rocque. Gibson again stretches his range to greater and skilled expanses, he is destined to greatness.

The thumping onslaught that is The Day The World Dies and the hardcore/classic metal tinged Prisoner Of The Flesh equally match those great heights with their combative breaths and antagonistic riff and rhythmic imagination. They again show the strength of variety from band and release as well as the extreme skills of each individual perfectly harnessed with clarity into an unrelenting stunning consumption.

The Serpentine Ritual is as mentioned at the start exceptional, a release drawing on established wells and through sonic alchemy producing music which is as fresh and refreshing as found anywhere in the genre and metal as a whole. The Kill Ritual has begun, in band and musical destiny.

http://www.killritual.com

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Nocturnal Torment: They Come At Night

They Come At Night is the debut album from US metalers Nocturnal Torment which has been twenty years in the making. Well not exactly true as though formed in 1988 commitments of the members to other projects  and bands took precedent resulting in Nocturnal Torment becoming dormant until recently. With a sound heavily soaked in the black depths of old school death metal lined with a thrash intensity recalling the likes of Pestilence, Monstrosity, Kreator, and Dark Angel, the Indiana based quartet of Mark Schultz (Guitar/Vocals), Tom Stathis (Guitar/Vocals), Pete Clemens (Bass), and Dave Ross (Drums)return with an album that does grabs attention. With riffs that slam hard and grooves that whip a storm throughout the ear the release leaves a distinct mark but not always for what it intended.  At times it verges on uncontrolled randomness and messy to overall disappoint and offer nothing really to excite.

Very often the nine tracks within They Come At Night produce ear startlingly moments that threaten to light up the senses but just as often they are whipped away by the bands desire to unleash a storm upon the senses without any kind of seeming subtlety or care. The songs often feel like a patchwork of ideas and a flurry of riffs just eager to assault without a clear and seamless transition. To be fair often this works well as in Cycle Of Life and Sweet Decay but it is rarely sustained. It is almost as if the band is trying to bring tech metal into play without actually going there, and as if they are playing with structures without either understanding how. For a band whose  bio suggests its members have been in bands since Nocturnal Torment had its enforced hiatus it is a surprisingly loose display and makes one ask whether the recordings come from back in their formative years though there is nothing else to suggest it.

Despite these things tracks like the aforementioned Cycle Of Life and Sweet Decay, plus Forever Eternal Darkness do hit the mark more often than not without ever being truly satisfying as do moments in the likes of Fresh Flesh Fetish and the title track. The heavy barracking of the drums and abusive riffs are malicious which drives the songs home powerfully and to their benefit erecting a wall of intensity that covers the less successful things beneath at times. I have to say that the desire to really like this album often reared its head on the album, and in many ways They Come At Night gives firm suggestion of possible great things ahead for Nocturnal Torment once they work on their style and fine tune what are basically bold and inventive ideas. They Come At Night is far from a car crash and should be checked out but against similar veined releases such as the new Desaster album it pales sadly.

RingMaster 23/02/2012

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