Review: Reign Eternal – ‘Premonitions’ EP

Will the real Reign Eternal please stand up! This EP entitled ‘Premonitions’ covers so many possible genres I’m not going to list them as I’ll blow my word count. Somehow the band label themselves as metalcore so let’s run with that. Overall though this is a solid offering, from the Exeter five-piece.

We start with the spot-on ‘Intro’ that’s about as metalcore as “Reign In Blood’, but I’m going with it. Solid and tight, its fades into the next track ‘Fighting Blind’, with its technical progressive metal opening straight into its death metal core. This is a true beast, and will catch the unwary off guard. Then we approach the bridge and manage to fit in a bit of a vocal homage to Amity Affliction while the band channels Whitechapel. This track is a bit like my hometown of Glasgow; if you don’t like the weather then give it a couple of minutes and it will change. This track is well played but I’m not sure what is going on. Hold on, five minutes in and we have the old-school riff and fade out. Nice touch!

Next track is ‘Bloodwater’ and it’s, well… these metal ears aren’t sure what it is. I hear a lot of this in Australia, as it moves on from Parkway Drive and Amity Affliction. But this is almost middle-of-the-day radio friendly, and we get a minute of teen-angst then smacked-in-the chops with a solid metal riff. Vocally, we remain as metal core, and we are smack bang in the middle of the genre here, but those guitarists are twitchy and it drives into hardcore. Again, the playing is tight and we bridge into classic metal before reappearing with clear radio-friendly vocals and very aggressive metalcore. It’s not going to take much for this band to spill over and then it’s on, it happens. To round out the track; early 2000 Napalm Death anyone?

‘The Amendment’ is again the same start as ‘Floodwater’, and I’m feeling comfortable that we are on solid ground. All sounds very familiar and relaxed in metalcore territory. These boys should come to Unify in Australia, as this is spot on what is the trend at the moment… but, I should know better, it’s all gone tits-up and we are grinding bass, death\doom lyrics and a twin guitar riff that is Maiden’s ‘Remember Tomorrow’. Unlike the previous track, this one doesn’t come back. It just grinds out with a solid groove. Now that I’m better prepared for the onslaught, I quite enjoyed that!

The track ‘Oxygen’ doesn’t even try to fool, as the bass has been set to stun. It’s a completely different mix from the rest of the EP, and it takes a while to adjust to the change. Again, the guitar duo are straining at the leash looking to be set loose and they go half way through the track. Play this to any metal fan and they would define it as groove metal and it pounds its way along. Again, adjusting to the mix, this is another solid performance. The Pantera era guitar harmonies are a nice touch.

Then it all goes top-notch. The longest track, the strongest track on the EP, and one of the best tracks I have heard in 2015! Pull up a chair and enjoy ‘Sins Of Epitah’. It even has the progressive metal title, and it’s all underscored by some tight drumming. As a drum nerd, it’s hats off to Jobe Whiteman, as this track is a blinder for the drummer. Guitars and bass are together in a grindfest. I’m checking… did I get this this mixed up with my death metal Sanzu review. Nope this is Reign Eternal, metalcore from Exeter. The band is really coming into its own now, and there is a confidence that’s been building throughout this EP, and it bursts out in the right spots on this track. Vocally, it’s on the money, well written and put together. We get near where the fade would be but we drop into a lull that’s broken with a power-riff that would put Devil Driver to shame. Being home alone makes the circle pit unlikely, so let’s just hold on, amp the note and fade. Nope, let’s fire up again, and flail anything that’s left alive. This is intense. Metal core, my arse, I loved everything about it. Mad, powerful, unpredictable and fresh. WINNER!

One of the benefits of being all-genres is the fact that you are likely to get invited to a lot of festivals, from the moderate hardcore of Unify to the Scandinavian metal-a-thons. One of the downsides is that the fan-base it likely to either want it all closer to metal or all closer to core. The compromise is for the band to make because punters rarely compromise unless you are an established band and people associate with you. What really pleased me is that for an up and comer, the playing is strong and there is a purpose about it all. Just need to set your sights on one target and aim for that guys!!! But if you want my tip, call yourself melodic metal and keep the vocals straight and you’ll go places.

Reign Eternal are:

Ellis Jones – (Vocals)

Ryan Simmons – (Guitar)

Sam Sazio – (Guitar)

Jobe Whiteman – (Drums)

Kane McEvoy – (Bass)

Review: Craig Grant

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