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 Reign Of Fury - Death Be Thy Shepherd (2015) Album Review

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Reign Of Fury - Death Be Thy Shepherd (2015)
Independent/Manager - Andy 'Sarge' Pilkington'
Running Time - 59:31


I've already said 2015 seems to be turning out to be a fine year for music releases, yes I know it's still early on, but the quality I've received so far has been fantastic. Now, one of my favourite bands of recent years, Reign Of Fury, have returned with their long awaited second album 'Death Be Thy Shepherd' and quite simply put it is Thrash par excellence! Reign Of Fury have taken all the influences of the Big 4 that were apparent on their EP and debut album, added some Testament and Exodus, upped the level of musicianship (no mean feat), production quality (it's self-produced by the way) and artwork and have released a product that won't just be a contender for Thrash album of the year but Album of the year!

As soon as I played this for the first time there was a Cheshire Cat grin on my face the size of a...Cheshire Cat! I love my Thrash and there are some superb bands about, both old and new, but somehow Reign Of Fury manage to meld everything together into one almost perfect whole. There is no way this album feels like an hour in length, it absolutely flies past and that is a very good sign! When you also consider there are only eight tracks, the shortest at just under six minutes and the longest clocking in at a whopping ten and a half minutes, it also shows you that Reign Of Fury are not scared of experimenting! Opener 'Faustian Mastery', another near ten minute track, explodes out of the blocks like Usain Bolt on steroids. It is a thunderous statement of intent, with a solo that pitches Iron Maiden against Dragonforce, but it is also a track of huge melody and utter precision.

Vocalist Bison Steed gets better and better, his voice is maturing and his use of melody is excellent throughout. There are again echoes of a prime sounding James Hetfield on several tracks, especially in the choruses, and it works flawlessly. Likewise, the guitar work of Jon Priestly and Ed 'Fury' Westlake' has been seriously ramped up. Their use of harmony, dual solos, speed and variety of riffs will have you moshing like a demented fool whilst admiring what they've done! Relatively new bassist Paul Bielby is perfectly situated in the mix. He complements the guitar work but has also formed a thunderous partnership with Reign Of Fury's resident machine gun drummer 'Magic' Dave. Dave utterly pummels the kit but it's all done with a heap of sophistication and complete understanding of the 'song'. There are many drummers out there who could learn a thing or two from Dave, I know I have!

Of all the influences Reign Of Fury have it is Metallica that shines the brightest, not the bloated, loose band that they've been for twenty odd years, but the Metallica of old that recorded 'Ride The Lightning', Master Of Puppets and the flawed, but still superb, '...And Justice For All'. Listen closely to 'Harbinger Of Decay', 'All Is Lost', which is the nearest Reign Of Fury get to a ballad here, or sections of the closing title track and tell me that Metallica wouldn't kill to write these in 2015! Everything about 'Death Be Thy Shepherd' screams quality. In an alternate universe this could conceivably have been the album that Metallica recorded post Justice if they had stuck to what they knew, it's that good!

In the last two years the rise of Reign Of Fury alongside honorary sixth member and manager Andy Pilkington has been enormous. Touring the length and breadth of the UK with their own shows to packed audiences and also masterminding the hugely successful Headbangers Balls charity and tours to raise a massive amount of money and awareness for the Teenage Cancer Trust (a disease very close to my heart). They have already started their tour to promote the album so I suggest you go and see them because you'll witness something special. These guys work tirelessly and I think I can say that if Carlsberg made Thrash Bands then they would make Reign Of Fury!

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Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley:

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