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'Death Be Thy Shepherd'

jools green

Jools Green

reign of fury

Formed in 2006, Cheltenham's melodic thrash five piece Reign Of Fury have gained an ever growing popularity, particularly on the live circuit, since the release of their EP 'Psycho Intentions' in 2011 and debut full length 'World Detonation' in 2012.

Soundwise it's a very hook laden style of thrash that has a bit of an old school feel, largely coming from the clean vocal style which, although I am not a fan of clean singing, I have to admit is very well executed and sits well within the songs.

Their track length does set them aside from the usual thrash bands, with time frames that range from six to ten and a half minutes, plenty of space for some flamboyant guitar work, with the opening monster 'Faustian Mastery' coming in at over nine minutes.

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After a brief haunting guitar opener that builds the atmosphere, the tempo is up and its straight into punchy riffing. The cleans are accompanied by backing shouts which add a nice harsh edge which also balances well alongside the melody which weaves through the track and just after midway the riffing gives way to a decidedly impressive and lengthy "shred fest".

The style of writing and playing replicates across the release with a constant thrash groove that sits very well, so the result of this is if you love one track you will probably love them all with 'Harbinger Of Decay' following in a similar vein with a great midpoint melody and closing shred.

'Hypnotised The Masses' opens faster with a slightly harder edge to the sound, in place of the harder backing vocals of previous tracks but the melodic edge is still there to balance it out and this hardness makes the vocals seem more melodic by contrast; an interesting listen.

'Gates Of Sanity' has great vocal harmonies and to my delight there are some harsh vocal growls and screams in the second half followed by a mega shred while 'All Is Lost' starts with a reflective guitar opener, building into a slower and for these guys, darker tinged track from a mood perspective, with the pace picking up in the second half, setting things up for a solo.

'The Love Of A Dying God' has an opener that seems to build from the distance, the sound getting louder and appearing to rush at you. The backbone of the track is made from an intense repeat riff and before the vocals even begin you are treated to some superb drum work, a more intense and slightly less melodic track. The backing vocal shouts, which sit very well here, return and after a couple of mid-point, poignant pauses the pace picks up to a galloping riff and latter part guitar solo, a track with a great old school, nostalgic quality to its construct.

An intense drum opener starts 'Sorrow Made Flesh', hinting at the tempo and sound you can expect from this track, the melodic element filling here, in and around the vocals on this, the shortest of the release at just under six minutes but there is still room for a second half shred and I particularly liked the lyrical content.

Final and title track, 'Death Be Thy Shepherd', is the album monster. It's ten and a half minutes of full tilt melo-thrash for the first half, save a small building opener and the vocal growls return with hair raising effect. There are also a few nice bass lines popping up from time to time.

There's mid point drop away changing the mood for the second half, a track of two halves for sure... I did prefer the first half but that's due to my personal taste in music and there is one a final closing shred for good measure.

Reign Of Fury state they are: "A metal band inspired by the true gods of metal! We're not here to invent a new style or be the most brutal band in the world. We're just doing what we feel like and playing the style we love and grew up with."

You can't help but admire that attitude; it's a very ear friendly listen and I hope 'Death Be Thy Shepherd' continues to build on the success they have already achieved.

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