Nothing is nostalgia-proof – not even the shopping trolley-clogged backwater that was British thrash metal. Xentrix, Re-Animator, Toranaga, Lawnmower Deth... names guaranteed to stir the memories of anyone who caught those bands between the strippers and the meat raffle at the local pub on any given Thursday in 1989.
Harrogate’s Acid Reign were at the head of this very small pack. Fuelled by Tetley bitter and Viz magazine, they were small in stature but big in swagger. This utterly unnecessary but oddly welcome three-disc collection is an overview of their time on the very far edge of the spotlight during the late 80s and early 90s. And it’s surprisingly great.
Yes, they lacked the steely aggression and surgical precision of their US counterparts, and no, singer (and current stand-up comedian) Howard ‘H’ Smith couldn’t carry a tune in a Spar shopping bag, but the likes of Motherly Love (from debut EP Moshkinstein) and Life In Forms (from 1990’s The Fear album) possessed a scrappy spirit that British metal lost somewhere in the intervening years.
Ultimately, Acid Reign in particular and Brit-thrash in general was too tinny, too parochial, too damn unambitious to ever properly mix it with the big boys from over the pond. But for a few fleeting moments it was an unlikely kind of glorious.