Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Reign of Fury - Death Be Thy Shepherd
Any dedicated record collector will deny that old adage "You can't judge an album by its cover" and then tell you a story about the album or albums that they bought solely because of the cover and then they found out that the music was also solid and the purchase was worth it for more than just the artwork. From the moment I laid eyes on the cover of the second album from UK band Reign of Fury, I didn't know whether it would be death or thrash metal but I suspected it would be right up my alley and knew it would be one of the two metal sub-genres. Reign of Fury are not death but straight up no-nonsense thrash metal.
The band's sound is very much 80's metal. There's a little bit of "And Justice For All" Metallica here and there. At times vocalist Bison Steed sounds like a youthful James Hetfield. A number of the all-in shouts hark back to Tesament's "Practice What You Preach" which followed the Metallica blueprint that countless bands were following back in the day. Remember UK metallers Onslaught's "In Search of Sanity" album? Metallica had a song called "Frayed Ends of Sanity" and Reign of Fury have a song called "Gates of Sanity". Reign of Fury clearly aren't looking to reinvent the wheel and just want you to headbang along to their thrash and with songs like "Hypnotise the Masses" they succeed at their goal. Bison's vocals are melodic although not in the Joey Belladonna style and fit the band's Bay Area style of thrash. The bridges work well and the band are tight as hell.
"All is Lost" is the obligatory ballad. Haha, remember on "Practice What You Preach" that Testament simply named theirs "The Ballad". Reign of Fury's ballad does speed up into more traditional metal territory. For straight out thrash, it's difficult to go past "The Love of a Dying God", with its speedy intro and all-in shouts. The tempo does slow down a little but it's only so the band catch a small breath so that they can speed up again. The band works the slow/fast dynamics really well in this particular tune making it one of the album's highlights. "Sorrow Made Flesh" cops a number of Metallica riffs but it isn't quite paint by numbers as Reign of Fury manage to inject a little of their own style there largely due to Bison's vocals. The title track "Death Be They Shepherd" is the longest track on the album and clocks in at over ten minutes. Fortunately the band knowing when to speed up and when to slow down doesn't make the song seem quite that long
Reign of Fury might not be setting any new ground but in this day and age, what recent thrash metal band does? Reign of Fury and "Death Be Thy Shepherd" should be checked out for those looking for decent late 80's style thrash metal or just solid thrash metal. The full album is streaming on the bandcamp link below so check it out.
Reign of Fury on Facebook
Reign of Fury - Death Be They Shepherd on bandcamp