Early career (1985–1987)
Acid Reign were formed by Mark Ramsey Wharton (drums and keyboards), Ian Gangwer (bass) Originally Peter Warriner, Howard "H" Smith (vocals), and future Cathedral member Gary "Gaz" Jennings (guitar). Second guitarist Kevin Papworth joined in 1987.
Rise to near fame and split (1987–1991)
In 1987, the band released the Moshkinstein demo. On the strength of this recording, they were picked up by British Thrash Metal label Under One Flag (a subsidiary of Music for Nations) in 1988 who released the Moshkinstein EP. Following this release, Jennings was replaced by another future Cathedral member, Adam Lehan (formerly of Lord Crucifier), and the band gained support slots opening for such acts as Flotsam and Jetsam and Death Angel. Acid Reign struck up a friendship with label mates Nuclear Assault and Exodus, and toured the UK and Europe as support to the Survive and Fabulous Disaster tours.
The band released their debut album, The Fear, in 1989. In support of the album, Acid Reign toured with Nuclear Assault again in 1989 across Europe with Dark Angel and Candlemass, with bassist Ian "Mac" MacDonald replacing Gangwer. Their second album, Obnoxious, arrived in 1990 to generally poor reviews.
The band broke up in 1991 after parting ways with Music For Nations. They played their final show at the London Marquee Club.
Lyrically, the group tackled a multitude of issues, ranging from criticism of censorship in "Creative Restraint" and the anti-nuclear testing message of "Joke Chain" to the B-movie science fiction of Phantasm and downright silliness, as on the CD bonus track for their album Obnoxious, "This Is Serious".
Smith can be seen on the comedy circuit as "Keith Platt - Professional Yorkshireman", as well as doing a monthly podcast for All About The Rock.
Acid Reign released re-mastered re-issues of their albums/EP's on Monday 17 January 2011 on Lost & Found Records on both CD and digital download. All albums have been remastered by legendary producer Bill Metoyer at Skull Seven studios. Bill's resume includes such acts as Slayer, DRI, and Flotsam and Jetsam.
In September/October 2010, H worked with Italian Thrash Metal band Satanika. Satanika had written music for a follow up to Acid Reign's "Motherly Love" and H provided the lyrics and vocals to the song. The song was entitled "A Mother's Love" and appeared on Santanika's 2010 album The Plague of Thrash.
In January 2014 H started the world's only Comedy/Heavy Metal podcast called "Talking Bollocks" for the UK metal webzine All About The Rock.
On 4 August 2014 The band released a retrospective collection of every song they'd ever put out. Titled "The Apple Core Archives", a 3 CD collection with sleeve notes, unseen pics, demos packaged in an Apple Core themed box. It was released on Candlelight Records.
On Sunday 30 November 2014 Acid Reign frontman H told UK Heavy Metal website All About The Rock "I tried to put the old line up back together but Adam and Ramsey were unable to do it for differing reasons. That news came this time last year and it looked like that was that as Kev isn’t able to commit to anything as he’s constantly on the road, although he has an open invitation to join us when he’s not, that’s a given. Then, in the summer, I started toying with the idea of a new line up and it came together quite quickly. We’re taking it slowly, learning the old stuff and playing with new ideas too. It’s not a reformation it’s a reboot. Even if it was the old line up it would be different, it’s been 24 years! The main thing is that the goodwill toward Acid Reign has never been stronger, everywhere I go people are saying we should come back and eventually I actually fucking listened! We’ll make an “official” announcement when we’re ready and have plans but for now it is just have a merry Xmas and an Obnoxious New Year."
On 5 May 2015, Acid Reign announced on their Facebook Page that they have reunited. Frontman Howard "H" Smith, who is the only original member of Acid Reign involved in the reunion, commented, "Finally the rebooted line up is complete, it's taken nearly two years but I can honestly say it's been worth the wait. Typically we're doing things differently to everyone else as where they reformed (and believe me we tried) we are now rebooting. Everyone in the band has Acid Reign in their DNA, some of the guys knew the band back in the day and some didn't but everyone is on the same page and we can't wait to get out there and show the world how much it has been missing us."
On 17 July 2015, Acid Reign released their comeback single "Plan Of The Damned" at www.acidreign.co.uk to rave reviews. The band also announced UK shows in October 2015 alongside fellow reactivated thrashers Xentrix.
On August 13th they headlined the Sophie Lancaster stage at the 2016 Bloodstock festival to rave reviews from fans and press alike. Pulling in over 5000 fans, breaking attendance and crowd surfing records the band proved that not only are they back but they are performing better than ever. The band will now continue writing an as yet untitled new album for release in late 2017 with touring to follow.
1) The Fear (album, 1989) (UK Indie No. 10)
2) Obnoxious (album, 1990)
3) The Worst of Acid Reign (compilation, 1991)
4) The Apple Core Archives (Box Set, 2014)
Singles EP and Mini Album
1) Moshkinstein (Mini Album, 1988)
2) Humanoia (EP)
3) Hanging on the Telephone (single)
4) "Plan Of The Damned" (Single 2015)
Members Name Check
- Howard "H" Smith – vocals (1985–1991, 2013–present)
- Cooky – guitar (2015–present)
- Paul Chanter – guitar (2013–present)
- Pete Dee – bass (2015–present)
- Marc Jackson – drums (2014–present)
- Mark Ramsey Wharton – drums, keyboards (1985–1991)
- Gary Jennings – guitar (1985–1988)
- Ian Gangwer – bass (1985–1988)
- Kevin "Kev" Papworth – guitar (1987–1991)
- Adam Lehan – guitar (1988–1990)
- Ian "Mac" MacDonald – bass (1988–1991)