Acid Reign

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Acid Reign
Origin Harrogate, England, United Kingdom
Genres Thrash metal, crossover, speed metal
Years active 1985–1991
Labels Under One Flag
Associated acts Lawnmower Deth, Cathedral, Cronos
Past members Howard Smith
Mark Ramsey Wharton
Gary Jennings
Ian Gangwer
Kevin Papworth
Adam Lehan
Ian MacDonald

Acid Reign were a British thrash metal band active from 1985–1991.


Early career (1985-1987)[edit]

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)[edit]

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 Tour" and "Fabulous Disaster Tour".

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 mixed 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".

Acid Reign were way ahead of their time - in a time when Hardcore was up and coming in the UK they had already created and defined their own genre called Apple Core. Many other bands tried to fit into this genre but all failed and to this day they remain the kings of Apple Core as can be heard on the appropriately named Apple Core Archives that was released on August 4th 2014.

Post-split (1991-present)[edit]

After they disbanded, Kev moved on to join Lawnmower Deth. Wharton has played with Cathedral and Cronos. 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 has been working with Italian thrash metal band Satanika. Satanika have written music for a follow up to Acid Reign's "Motherly Love" and H has provided the lyrics and vocals to this song. The song is entitled "A Mother's Love" and will be on Satanika's next release.

In January 2014 H started making a monthly podcast called "Talking Bollocks" for the UK metal webzine All About The Rock.[1]

On August 4th 2014 The band released a retrospective collection of every song they'd ever put out. Titled "The Apple Core Archives" it is a three CD collection with sleeve notes, unseen pics, demos and comes in an Apple Core themed box. It was released on Candlelight Records.

On Sunday 30th 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."[2]



  • The Fear (album, 1989) (UK Indie No. 10)[3]
  • Obnoxious (album, 1990)
  • The Worst of Acid Reign (compilation, 1991)

Singles and EP's[edit]

  • Moshkinstein (demo, 1987)
  • Moshkinstein (EP, 1988)
  • Humanoia EP (EP)
  • Hanging on the Telephone (single)

Band members[edit]

  • Howard "H" Smith – vocals (1985–1991)
  • 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 (1988–1991)
  • Ian "Mac" MacDonald – bass (1988–1991)


  1. ^ Smith, Howard (January 11, 2014). "Episode 1: The best of 2013, Re-Animator reanimated, Reign revelations and Xentrix’s bank robbing connections". All About the Rock. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ Hogan, Craig (November 30, 2014). "Acid Reign to Reform? Reboot?". All About the Rock. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.