Hailing from London Inhuman Nature play a rather nifty thrash metal/hardcore crossover and, as you’d expect from such an amalgamation, the result is pretty volatile. They haven’t travelled north to take prisoners and they collectively omit a nasty rumble that could easily soundtrack a world perishing in global warfare. Drummer Simon Grubb is the band’s secret weapon and doesn’t let up over 35 blistering minutes and, along with vocalist Christopher Barling, served time in UK sludge legends Hang The Bastard. However, the whole band is afire with Jack Wilson attacking his bass like it’s a primed bomb and guitarists Ben Taylor and Mack Stray combining to ensure the band roll like a panzer division across the steppes. It’s a brutal (though not unpleasant) set that signposts big things for this quintet. Future mayhem beckons.
I first encountered Acid Reign way back in April 1990 (just down the road at Milton Keynes’ Woughton Centre) and the general lunacy the band displayed that evening will be forever etched in my mind’s eye and it proved a sad day for British metal when, in the face of an uncaring music industry, they later disbanded. Thankfully, they reformed in 2015 and they’re back to inject some much needed tomfoolery into these strange times. In many ways Acid Reign reminded me of American thrashers Anthrax; sure, they could be a bit goofy at times but they also dealt in some serious topics and they don’t come more serious than tonight’s opener, ‘The New Low’. Immediately there’s tangible waves of affection radiating between crowd and stage and that’s only enhanced when the band launch into ‘Goddess’. Vocalist ‘H’ makes the first of several sojourns into the crowd as horns are held aloft, beer is spilt, and general mayhem erupts…and it’s only the second song!
Unfortunately, guitarist Paul Chanter has been laid low by Covid so Acid Reign stoically appear as a four-piece. This causes some changes to the set list with tracks from 1989’s The Fear featuring prominently (which is a good thing) the first of which, ‘Life In Forms’, is particularly well received. ‘H’ is like the Peter Pan of thrash, hyperactive in the extreme he covers every inch of stage, and you get the feeling that even Wembley Arena would be too small for him. He’s the only original member from the band’s first tenure but in bassist Pete Dee he’s found a worthy foil and there’s plenty of good-natured banter throughout. An amphetamine-fuelled run through of Blondie’s ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ vastly improves the original before we’re treated to two from The Fear, the second of which, ‘Blind Aggression’, is dedicated to fallen comrade and original bassist Ian Gangwer and proves a worthy tribute. During ‘Blind Aggression’ ‘H’ disappears (to the bar, it transpires) before returning with a tray of drinks for the band, and why not?
‘Motherly Love’ could quite be the band’s theme tune, it’s greeted like an old friend and, aided by some powerhouse drumming from Marc Jackson, the Craufurd crowd almost raise the roof when invited to sing along. Two from latest album The Age Of Entitlement are served up as encores and props to guitarist Cookie for handling all the guitar parts and turning final salvo ‘Ripped Apart’ into a musical tornado. It’s been a long 30 years since Acid Reign last visited the town of concrete cows so welcome back lads!
Words and pictures by Peter Dennis.
1. The New Low
3. Life In Forms
4. Creative Restraint
5. The Fear
6. All I See
7. Hanging On The Telephone
9. Blind Aggression
10. Motherly Love
11. United Hates
12. Ripped Apart