Reaper @Central Live Music Venue, Wrexham, 11/09/2021

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Acid Reign: Tour Of Entitlement, Central Live Music Venue, Wrexham 11/09/2021

Acid Reign Tour Of Entitlement  Wrexham Poster

Acid Reign: Tour Of Entitlement
w/Reaper and Thrashatouille
Central Live Music Venue, Wrexham
Review by Beth Jones

Gigs are back! Can I get a ‘Hell Yeah’?!! Whoop! And they have now become the busses of music – none for ages, then a load turn up at once! The beauty about tonight’s gig is it was, literally, a mile from Ever Metal HQ, and in the best venue Wrexham has! Winning! It was our second time in two weeks seeing the mighty Acid Reign, after an awesome headline spot at Beermageddon on August bank holiday weekend, so we knew we were in for a good show. And to make it even better, providing support were two of our favourite local-ish bands, food-based Death/Thrashers, Thrashatouille, and one of the most exciting young Thrash bands around, Reaper.

After arriving before doors, and having a lovely chat with long lost friends, and some much-needed hugs, we made our way in, purchased beverages, and headed down the front for our night openers, Thrashatouille. Having seen them at the very nervous occasion that was the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales final in July, it was lovely to welcome them back to the stage in a time where people had thrown caution to the wind, and no-one looked quite as terrified! And they brought us a show to match our re-invigorated moods! Since the M2TM final, they’ve worked on their sound and their stage show, and it told. It was heavier, crunchier, and more in your face than we’ve seen them before, and it really upped their game. They also finished differently to what we were used to, replacing the customary red velvet cake faceplant with a cover of ‘Word Up’ – or ‘Fry Up’ as they had lovingly repurposed it! They brought the show to the crowd, and the crowd was pleased. Great way to start the night.

Reaper were up next. These guys hold a special place in my heart after agreeing to play my 40th Birthday charity gig back in 2019, before the end of the world as we know it happened. I love their sound, and their passion, and am infinitely irritated by the immense talent they have at such a young age, but also have a huge amount of motherly pride and protective instinct for them. I am, pretty much, old enough to be their mum, and while that is disturbing, it also instils me with much pride when they smash it out of the park. And boy did they do that here! They play fantastic Progressive Thrash Metal, done superbly well, by uber talented youngsters, who are hungry as hell for the music they love, in its purest form. They played everything up for the audience, and frontman Dan Moran even gave a heartfelt speech on the anniversary of 9/11, one of the most devastating atrocities we have ever seen, to much applause from the audience. This was my favourite ever performance I have seen from them, and the crowd absolutely lapped them up. And that’s a really good thing, because it wasn’t just all the regulars at this gig, it was people who only come out of the woodwork for big names, too. And those people need to hear new and exciting music like this, because this is the future of metal right here. ** RANT ALERT** When the Big 4 have quit touring, and all the legends of old are swilling soup from sippy cups in retirement homes, these are the people who are going to be keeping the metal dream alive! Bands like Reaper, who are stupidly talented, endlessly endearing, and preposterously passionate about the music they love, are the lifeblood of Rock and Metal, and the sooner everyone gets on board that boat, the better. These are the people the legends were 40 years ago, but apathy is killing their game. Please, please, I implore you – if you haven’t seen a small band that you’ve never heard of before, make this year, and the return of live music, the time that you change that. If you don’t, this scene dies when the bands who were lucky enough to make it big in the glory years finally get too old for this shit.

From the new boys to the old boys. Our headline act, Thrashers, Acid Reign, have been kicking it, with a small hiatus(!), since 1985. And now they’re back, and clearly feeling incredibly entitled this year, given the name of their tour! So, (**with tongue firmly in cheek, and in complete jest** – thought it was better to point that out now than get angry messages) for the rest of this review, I will refer to them all as Karen! They had a torrid time leading up to this gig. Karen (Paul), one of their guitarists, was struck down with the dreaded lurgi, so couldn’t be at the gig – big love – be ok soon dude. The band had a choice to make – cancel, or play as a four piece. They (thankfully) decided that the show must go on (and boy are we glad about that). Then, their tour bus broke down halfway here, and they had to be rescued (or brought to their untimely death, depending on what your view of our little hometown is) by a lovely volunteer driver!

But, despite fate trying to conspire against them, they made it, and they hit the stage! Karen (H) was on top form, running about the place, climbing on the speaker stack, stealing drumsticks to hit cymbals with, and making a trip to the bar mid-song, for alcoholic refreshments. He even had a customary wander into the crowd a few times to see what things looked like from the other side.

Now, at this point, I would like to mention an incident that occurred, which could have put a huge downer on the night. One of the (very drunk) revellers (who I don’t think, surprisingly, was from Wrexham) decided that it would be really fun to exit the pit backwards, at high speed, and plant the back of his head into a brick wall. Cue the awesome metal community! A couple of people put him into the recovery position, and a few others formed a wall to make sure that the continuing pit didn’t collide with him. He was up and smiling again within a couple of minutes, which was a massive relief, and everyone got on with the night. Karen (H ) checked he was ok, and announced it to the crowd, and all was well with the world again.

So back to the band! Karen on Bass (Pete) got really hot and took his T-shirt off, Karen (Cooky) on guitar gave a disapproving look, and then Karen (H) decided to join Bass Karen, because it was very, very hot. The lesser spotted Karen on drums (Marc) just kept his cool and did drum things, and pulled drum faces, because…drummer!

They also had a signed setlist from back in the day thrown on stage with them, from the crowd, after being turned into a paper aeroplane. In case you’re interested Acid Reign guys, it was thrown by a guy lovingly known as ‘Big Oggy’. He’s a massive fan…!

In all seriousness, seeing these guys in our small town was an absolute blast. They are tight as a nun’s chuff and consummate performers. When you have the talent to flow with a performance like this, you know you’re on to something good. And they are onto something good, and hilarious, and so, so endearing. What a fabulous show, despite being a member down. Long may this rebirth continue. Kudos to all the Karen’s of Acid Reign for wanting to feel the entitlement again, and to Fozzy and Beany of NEW Metal Productions for bringing their entitled asses to Wrexham. Don’t leave it so long next time guys, because we need your joy much more often. Love you xx


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Reaper – Stranger Than Fiction

Reaper – Stranger Than Fiction
Release Date: 16/10/2020
Running Time: 37:53
Review by Beth Jones

Merseyside. An area in the North West of England, known for some interesting stuff; The Beatles, a couple of decent football teams (one arguably better than the other – which one that is, I’ll leave up to you to decide), and the exit point of the River Mersey into the North Sea (I believe there’s a ferry across it, too. I heard it once in a song 🤣). And now, Merseyside has a new offering! A young four-piece Progressive Thrash Metal band, by the name of Reaper. Over the last couple of years, we’ve become quite friendly with their frontman, Dan Moran, so it’s a great pleasure to now be able to review their second full length album, “Stranger Than Fiction”.

Inspired by the great and good of Thrash, Prog, and Classic Metal, Reaper create a sound that’s full of thumping melodies, entwined with faster thrash riffs, and intricate rhythms, which give the sound a distinct edge. “Stranger Than Fiction” was originally set to be an EP, but then Covid happened, and the lockdown that followed led to some intense and inspired writing, leaving them with enough material to go the whole hog! The concept of being thrust into life in a world full of chaos, then learning to accept that chaos is all part of life’s rich tapestry, forms the basis of this album. It explores some of the harsher sides of life that run starkly through the world, especially at the current time.

After a short introduction, made up of a collection of chaotic samples to set the scene, ‘Sigil’, the bands previously released single, kicks the actual music off. It’s pacey and full of epic riffage and thrashy rhythms, with Dan’s vocals ripping over the top of everything. His voice is somewhere between Rob Halford and an angry Bruce Dickenson! Powerful and gritty, with a great range, and an even bigger lung capacity (there’s some ridiculously long notes in this track)!

‘The Titan’ is slightly slower, but still with all the vim and vigour you want from a meaty Thrash track. It’s a real thumper. It gets a bit trippy in the middle, too, before coming back to shotgun staccato work on the guitars, bass, and drums, and a pretty epic guitar solo. This thunderous sound is continued in the first half of ‘Upon The Sun’. However, halfway through, it suddenly drops into a quite acoustic section, followed by a proggy interlude, which really mixes things up a bit! Again, this is another belter.

‘Flight’ takes an amble through full on prog, with a heavy edge. It’s many cross-rhythm sections, discordant guitar solos, and bonkers vocal effects, intertwine to create a reasonably psychedelic, hallucinogenic experience. Don’t try and bang your head to this one. It will just annoy you! Just pay attention instead! There’s so much going on in it, that you’ll find something new with each listen.

The business end of the album brings the thrash back, (with ‘Jericho’ being a full-on thrash number that you just have to move to) then goes all out thrash prog genius for the final two tracks, ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Walk The Sky’, which are both of epic length, and by far my favourite tracks on the album.

‘Afterlife’ starts off pacey and powerful, then builds and builds, until it crashes into the stratosphere of epic melodic prog, before finally coming back down to earth, with an acoustic guitar closing the track. It’s so emotive and exciting! I think it might be my favourite Reaper song ever, actually! ‘Walk The Sky’ is almost a resolution of ‘Afterlife’. It offers a fair amount of heavy and pacey thrash riffs early on, but then floats down into intricate, measured, chilled out prog. The symbolic “moment of acceptance and contentment” realising and resolving the discordant chaos.

I love this album. And the more I listen to it, the more I hear in it. If you like anything thrashy, with some added diversity, then you need this in your playlist. It’s interesting and exploratory, and musically, its skilfully executed, tight, and displays a mature professionalism that goes way beyond the band’s years. I’ve only held back from giving “Stranger Than Fiction” a perfect 10 because I believe that Reaper still have even more to give. And that, my friends, is a hellishly exciting prospect!!

01. Event Horizon
02. Sigil
03. The Titan
04. Upon The Sun
05. Flight
06. Jericho
07. Afterlife
08. Walk The Sky

Daniel Moran – Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Capitano – Guitar
Elliott Kyriakides – Bass
Anthony Longworth – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.