While it may not have compared to the US thrash scene of that period, back in the ’90s, the UK had a thriving thrash scene of its own. It was a scene that may not have had the mainstream coverage afforded to it by the press but certainly gave UK thrash fans (including this one), plenty of great times.
One of those bands, Acid Reign put out their fourth album, The Age of Entitlement last year and just recently team up with pop icon Suzanne Vega for their lockdown video “Blood Makes Noise”. Straight after the video came out, we spoke to Howard H.Smith from the band about the thrash scene, rivalries within the scene and, of course, their new video.
Thanks for your time, how are things during lockdown for the Acid Reign chaps ?
Howard H. Smith: “Same as everyone else, it’s no different for us we are just trying to get through this the same way everyone else is. We did make a lockdown video though…”
Which lead nicely onto the video for “Blood Makes Noise” with Suzanne Vega. Can you tell us how the whole idea came about ?
“Ah ha! Yes I saw Sepultura do the song “Isolation” in isolation and I thought they all looked a bit miserable. I thought if we did one like that is would… Hang on a minute! The idea was born, Suzy V got on board and we were off to the races!”
Check out what happens when you combine a UK thrash band, a pop icon and lockdown with Acid Reign’s new video for “Blood Makes Noise”:
Are there any more interesting plans in the plan from ARHQ while we’re under lockdown ?
“We’re putting a few things together but not anything that would qualify as “exciting”.”
Okay, we wanted to talk about the UK thrash scene and your memories of that period in the ’90s? If you could sum up the UK thrash scene during that period when it appeared to be thriving, how would you sum it up in a few sentences?
“Sum up an entire scene, culture, and period of time in a few sentences? Let me know when you can meet someone who can do that! It was great to be part of something so groundbreaking. At the time we were all so young and ambitious we thought it would never end. Then it did.”
The UK thrash scene never hit the heights of the US scene but was there much interest outside the UK in bands like Acid Reign ?
“No. Not really. That’s why the UK scene died. We split, Sabbat the week after us and Onslaught a week after that. The UK couldn’t sustain a scene without interest from around the world. It’s very different now though! It’s more popular worldwide than ever right now.”
As for touring, any good show memories you can tell us about ?
“Lots of great memories and none are really fit for reproducing here. Dublin on the Obnoxious tour was probably the best club show I’ve ever been involved with. Amazing.”
For bands like Acid Reign, from the outside at least, it looked like you just wanted to play gigs, record a few albums and have fun. From within the band, what was the ambition?
“It may have looked liked that but we wanted the same as every other band, become as big as possible!”
Was their any rivalry between bands in the UK scene ?
“They’ll all say no but yes of course there was. Like a sibling rivalry, you wish each other well but you want to outdo them at everything.”
And now a lot of those bands are making a bit of a return, now you’re older and wiser, what are your ambitions as a musician and a band ?
“Right now in the middle of Lockdown without knowing what the “new” normal will look like and the prospect of live shows not being until 2021. Our ambitions are this… Do a gig.”
Thanks for your time and good luck with everything. Is there anything you want to say to thrash fans who might be reading this ?
“Yeah. Don’t get your hopes up for gigs returning in 2020. Not negative just realistic given all the evidence we have. Stay safe everyone.”