In the year that thrash gods Slayer announced they’re calling it a day, Corby’s similarly named Reaper are intent on keeping the scene alive.
The band initially started as a concept over a decade ago, but the current line-up of Scott Litster (vocals), Drew Reilly and Mark Innocent (guitars), Ricky Audio (bass) and Carl Sheldrick (drums) was only formed last February, which is when things began to pick up after numerous unsuccessful members came and went.
Reaper position themselves as “a new take on thrash,” honing a huge sound that screams with raw energy and aggression. As Scott explains: “We’re not one for labels but ‘New Thrash’ is the closest we could come to summarise it. We’re trying to be innovative and, whilst paying homage to them, try and stand apart from bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, Slayer, Evile and Pantera.”
The latest offering of this is their brash, rifftastic single Fury In Flames. It opens with a building riff and reverb that drops into a bigger continuation of the riff, then a cry of “Go” sees the riff return with driving drums, then lingering guitar chords end with a big drum roll. More chugging riffs come in as a build-up to a blast of thrashy shouted vocals “Look through my eyes as you see our nation, Fury in flames incineration, The world is torn apart, an abysmal view, Just one thing he’s coming for you!, Take the time to look around, What you thought you had lost has now become found, Trigger sounds, gunfire that never ends, The sound of gunfire drives us round the bend!”
That leads into a chorus of almost spoken vocals meets shouts: “The war is over, Towering Aura, There’s no one to blame, no one to shame, We fight, for what is right, We’ll bring fury in flames, Walk with me into the light.” A big high-pitched guitar solo follows the chorus and drops into more shouted vocals supported by palm-muted guitars, then an even bigger shred session follows the second chorus and ends on big drawn out high notes. A cool tapped solo continues underneath less shouty vocals, then a cry of “Fury in flames” brings it to an end.
There’s big riffs, a couple of awesome solos and engaging vocals throughout, which bears well for the new music coming our way soon. Give it a listen below:
We’ve yet to meet too many truly thrash bands, indeed this might be the first British thrash band we’ve discovered, so we asked the band for their take on the genre’s current prominence. Scott told us: “The scene is still very much alive, you only have to look at bands like Metallica and Megadeth who are still releasing albums, to a whole slew of new outfits like Protothrash, Tumourboy and Eradicator who are storming the scene at the moment.”
“I think thrash music is just so raw, can have speed and energy as well as covering anything from police shootouts, going out on a Friday to a show and just getting rowdy with your friends.”
While Mark adds to that: “It’s still alive, but I think thrash is in dire need of rejuvenation, and we, as we are now, are a band that can do that.”
Reaper like to mix things up in their songwriting, as Scott explains: “It really depends. Sometimes current events influence the lyrics, Diplomatic Solution, for example, is based around when an embassy was attacked in Isreal. Recently it’s been a riff Mark has that sets the tone, or Carl will lay down a beat and an hour later Blood In The Air was pretty much a complete song.
“We feed really well off of one another, each person adding their idea and it goes from a good idea to a song we all spend the next week singing to ourselves.”
Reaper have been busy writing new material ahead of going into the studio to record their upcoming debut album Rise in May. Ahead of that they play The Black Prince in Northampton tomorrow night, then onto Mama Liz’s in Stamford on 7 April, over to the Met Lounge in Peterborough on 20 April, then wrap-up the pre-studio warmup in Corby on 27 April. More info on all their gigs is here.