Acid: Reissues

Merciless Kate’s Belgian belligerents get their NWOBHM on.

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‘Acid is the name. Heavy metal is the game.’ Belgian band Acid might be little more than a footnote in Euro-rock history but they rarely wavered from the statement of intent issued on their self-titled debut.

Fronted by Kate De Lombaert – a beguiling combination of Doro Pesch and Mariska Veres (Shocking Blue) – these Flemish frenetics took their cue from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and released three albums between 1982 and 1985.

The first is so primitive it makes cave painting look like fine art. Still, the juddering power of tracks such as Hell On Wheels and Hooked On Metal can’t be denied.

Follow-up Maniac has an improved production and sounds Mercyful Fate-like in parts. The title track is a fearsome neck-snapper, while Lucifera’s crazed rifferama sounds like Tipton and Downing on, well, acid.

In the sleeve notes, the band criticise third album Engine Beast for its ‘American direction’, but apart from the trashy Halloween Queen and the lightweight She Loves You, it actually sounds like bludgeoning business as usual to us.

Given the quality of these reissues, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why Acid didn’t make more of an impact on the early-80s metal world. Perhaps the childish scrawls that masquerade as their album covers had something to do with it. Maybe De Lombaert’s image (flame-red hair, billowing cape, thigh-high boots) only became cool when Florence Welch arrived on the scene. Or was it down to the fact that the real name of guitarist Demon was Donald? If pushed, we’d suspect the latter.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.