Reign of Fury – Exorcise Reality [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

I can’t believe it’s been four years since I first listened to Reign of Fury. For those of you that don’t remember, or weren’t alive during that time, Reign of Fury‘s 2015 release, Death Be Thy Shepherd, was so good it landed atop my year-end list. As I read over the words I wrote long ago, three things are clear. First, I’m still a shitty writer. Second, boy, a lot has changed in what seemed like a perfect life for ole Grier. Third, Exorcise Reality is no Death Be Thy Shepherd, Part Deux. Like Grier, a lot has changed for Reign of Fury. We’ve both gone through lineup changes which led to changes in direction and motivation. Trying with every ounce of strength to keep it together through the delays and long silences. Trying to make it out unscathed with something worth anything to anyone. The jury’s still out about yours truly, but RoF made it. Fuck reality. Let’s exorcise it.

One thing hasn’t changed. Exorcise Reality is eight-tracks of thrash, jam-packed with Anthrax, Megadeth, and Metallica. What has changed versus the eight tracks of Death Be Thy Shepherd is the total runtime. My top pick for 2015 was an exhausting hour of thrash that, while I loved, many got that impression of Metallititus running through RoF‘s bloodstream. For those that need your thrash short, Exorcise Reality‘s forty-three-minute runtime oughta please your impatient souls. For those that also whined of the killer barks and grunts of songs like “Gates of Sanity” and “Death Be Thy Shepherd,” those are long gone. So, stop your bitching.

As one should expect, Exorcise Reality is as full of thrashy licks and solos as it is with soaring vox, full-band choral support, and crocheted melodics. “CapitalJism,”1 “Addiction Hymn,” and “The World Belongs to Me” being some of the more melodic. All have backing vocals to give purpose and punch to the choruses and all are addictive as meth. “Addiction Hymn” being the closest thing to a ballad, “CapitalJism” placing an angry foot to the back of your skull, and “The World Belongs to Me” being the album highlight. With plenty of He(f)t in the vox and a march to match “Sad But True,” this last is a fucking headbanger.

On the flip-side, the album beasts have to be “Haunt the Murderer,” “I May Be a Bastard, but I’m Not a Fucking Bastard,” and the closing title-track. Like “The World Belongs to Me,” “Haunt the Murderer” has a groove like non-other on the album. It’s a killer piece that is as catchy as its melodic counterpart. “I May Be a Bastard, but I’m Not a Fucking Bastard” is one of the shortest2 and one of the more pissed off of the album. And the closer feels like a B-side from Death Be Thy Shepherd. It has great flow, impressive solos, and a mid-song breakdown straight from the Kill ‘Em All era. It’s a pleasing and appropriate way to close the record.

While years of Grier list runner-ups may take the top bar this year, Exorcise Reality might have to take the backseat. It’s a great album, if not remarkable, but a smidgeon less interesting than its predecessor. Many will disagree because of the focus and shorter runtime. But Death By They Shepherd felt more spontaneous and less restricted than Exorcise Reality. Plus, the back-half Exorcise Reality is stronger than the front. That said, this is a great slab of nostalgia that’ll make any Thrash Dad happy.

Tracks to Check Out: “Exorcise Reality,” “Haunt the Murderer,” and “The World Belongs to Me”

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Hehe, that’s cute.
  2. Despite its title.
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